(Posting your book for sale)
This blog post will discuss how to distribute your book. Distribution sounds ominous, and I was worried about it myself, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Distribution basically means posting the book files online so your customers can buy the book. If you want to have your books available to be ordered in brick and mortar stores like Books a Million, you may need a self-publishing firm to help you get you book into Ingram or other big distribution companies, but this blog will focus on managing distribution yourself and at little cost.
I personally use two simple account types to distribute my eBooks and printed books to Amazon for sale, 1) Kindle Direct Publishing, and 2) Create Space.
To sell eBooks on Amazon you need to create an account with Kindle Direct Publishing. It will walk you through all the steps to upload the eBook files and cover file. You can save as you go and log in multiple times to finish setup. You will do this at https://kdp.amazon.com There you will have a dashboard where you can see each of your eBooks for sale. To complete this process Amazon has a few requirements. You’ll need an EIN from the IRS. (You can do this online at https://goo.gl/u9CfaA) You will also need a bank account so that KPD (Kind Direct Publishing) can direct deposit your royalty checks, and the bank account must be in the United States. The KDP process is paperless and you can log into your KDP account anytime to see your sales. Depending on the options you select when setting up the book, you can sell eBooks on Amazon worldwide this way. Be advised that payment to you may be based on the number of books sold, the way you set up sales, and a minimum dollar amount reached.
For printed books you can create an account with Create Space. Create Space is owned by Amazon and manages the printing and shipping of your paperback book. Thanks to print technology called print on demand, authors have the ability to sell printed paperback books affordably. Create Space posts your paperback book seamlessly with your eBook on Amazon. When the reader purchases the printed book online, the files are downloaded to the printer and one copy will be printed and shipped to the customer. Since the printing process has been simplified from old fashion movable type to digital files, it’s much quicker and cheaper than it was back when they had to print hundreds of books at one time to be cost effective for setup time. You will pay a portion out of each sale for this service. It cuts down on your royalties, but it saves you from the need to pay in advance to print and ship a bunch of books you may never sell. Be advised that this process can take up to three weeks, so if you plan to advertise your book for a holiday or to friends for a birthday etc, allow time for the printing process. You can also order copies for yourself, to sell or give away.
I found the process of uploading files to Create Space simple. It walked me completely through uploading the print layout and cover files needed. They also have 24 hour phone support, which was helpful. Once the process was complete they sent me a sample of my printed book. What a thrill it was to finally hold my first book in my hand! Note that you will need a bank account for this process as well, because the royalties of sales from your printed books will come through Create Space.
Create Space also offers services such as editing, formatting, cover design and more. You can find more info at www.createspace.com
If you don’t want to deal with distribution, most self-publishing firms will charge you several hundred dollars to distribute your book, then take a portion of your royalties, and be advised that they can take a big portion. When I went through my first publisher in Canada they charged so much that the price of my book was inflated to the point that it was completely out of whack with the competition, and I got only a few cents per book sale. Book Fuel is the only company I’ve found so far who will charge to distribute your book but then manage your royalties for a low flat monthly fee, not a portion of each sale. If you choose to have a firm distribute your book, you will most likely log into their system to check sales and you’ll get a check from them, not Amazon or Create Space.
You can also upload your book to online sellers such as Barnes and Noble (Nook for eBooks) and Books a Million online. Each bookstore company will have different requirements. My first two books were available for two and a half years at every online book seller possible, yet 99% of my sales were through Amazon. I’ve chosen to keep it simple and sell only on Amazon, in order to focus on writing rather than managing multiple online accounts.
More and more options are becoming available to help authors get their work published. Do your research to find the option that is best for you. Distribution is only the beginning of the long hard road to market your book, but that’s another story. Don’t let the complexity of the process get you down. Write and edit your book, get your files created, and get your work published!