Top 10 Self-Publishing Platforms for Your E-Book
There are many options available now for writers looking to self-publish their e-books. Both new and established authors are increasingly self-publishing their books due to the hassles and difficulties associated with the traditional publishing route. To cater to these authors, many self-publishing platforms have sprung up offering a range of services.
Here is a brief look at the top 10 self-publishing platforms and their main features, to help authors decide which one(s) to use for their next e-book:
1. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
Amazon is the most popular self-publishing platform at this time. E-books self-published with the KDP program only appear in Amazon bookstores. However, as Amazon is by far the leading global book-seller in both print and digital formats, authors are assured of reaching a large audience that trusts Amazon.
KDP also offers a ‘Select’ program which requires exclusivity in exchange for higher royalties, and the chance to have your book in Amazon’s popular e-book lending library. This is a great way to get your books into as many readers’ hands as possible. Both the KDP and Select programs are free for authors to self-publish with, and require no upfront costs. Regarding the nitty-gritty, Amazon pays authors 70% royalty of e-books priced in the $2.99 – 9.99 range, and participating in the Select program. E-books outside this price range receive only 35% royalty in some cases.
2. Nook Press
This self-publishing platform from Barnes and Nobles is the new, rebranded version of PubIt, and the e-books are sold through the Nook bookstore. There is a lower reach for books through this platform, and the royalty rates are also somewhat lower. The authors receive 65% royalty of e-books priced $2.99 – 9.99, and 40% royalty for e-books outside of this price range.
3. iBook Authors
This platform is for book sales through Apple’s iBookstore only, so again the circulation is a bit lower. However, this platform is especially good for image-rich books which are difficult to upload using Amazon’s KDP. Photography, recipe and children’s books are easy to create with the user friendly book design process and many templates available. The royalty rate is 70% throughout.
4. Kobo Writing Life (KWL)
The KWL platform is becoming more popular now, as Kobo also has its own reading devices, global bookstores and easy conversion process. E-books published on Kobo are sold only through KWL. However, recently Kobo has a deal with America’s top indie book stores allowing them to sell the e-books from their stores also. You can also hold in-store promotional events at participating bookstores. Kobo offers a 70% royalty rate for the $1.99-9.99 range, and 45% for books outside of this range. KWL offers authors a 70% royalty rate on e-books priced $2.99 USD and above, and titles priced below $2.99 USD earn 45% royalty.
This is a great distribution channel, and one the largest sellers of self-published e-books. Smashwords sells e-books in its own store, and also converts your manuscript into the major e-book formats for sale in all the top bookstores like iBookstore, Barnes and Nobles and others. Smashwords pays 85% royalty on e-books sold through its website, and about 70% for those sold through other bookstores.
CreateSpace is a print-on-demand option which is becoming very popular. One of the great features about CreateSpace is that it allows bookshops to buy your books in bulk at retail prices. So, your books can be sold on online bookstores and also real bookstores, giving you the opportunity to hold in-store events for promotions.
This is another easy to use platform, which converts your manuscript easily into e-book format. Lulu is free to self-publish, but also has some higher-end packages that offer several services such as cover design, etc. Lulu also distributes your book to other bookstores like iBookstore and Amazon.
Bookbaby caters to first-time or busy authors who need some hand-holding or extra help during the self-publishing process. It offers several services for authors, at a cost of course. Bookbaby does not take any royalty from your books, but instead charges an upfront fee for its help in publishing your book (between $100- 350, depending on the package), and annual fees. For authors who feel confident of making good sales, and who’d rather take the non-writing work out of the DIY self-publishing process, Bookbaby is a great option.
This is a completely free to use platform, and also provides 100% of the royalty to authors! Yes, it is completely free, and you get all the profits from your book. The only downside is that this platform itself does not have a very good reach, and relies on the authors telling all the friends and fans to visit the site and purchase the books. However, it distributes your books on other major retailer sites like Amazon and Nook, and still provides the entire royalty (after the 30% cut by Amazon).
10. Other indie platforms (Sellfy, Gumroad)
These platforms are fairly well-visited by indie-loving readers. There are no fees to publish your e-books here and no conversion software either. You just sell your e-book as a pdf file, and promote it through your website or blog. The upside is that you don’t have to wait, and your book will be available for sale immediately. Also, you can make revisions at any point, and just re-upload your book, without losing any sales due to off-shelf time.
Any of these platforms would be suitable for most authors, but some trial and error is required to find one (or more) that suit you best. Maximizing the audience reached by your e-book is critical, so you might have to decide between royalty rates and selling through as many channels as possible, or some sort of compromise between them. The best self-publishing platform for you will also depend on your status as an author (new or well-established, niche or mainstream), how many books you have already published, and whether you prefer print or digital versions.