Selling your book online via one of the many e-book stores is the most popular way of self-publishing. In this post I’ve selected 4 of the best e-book stores in the industry today, with a brief run down of their guidelines and royalty payouts.
1. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
This is Amazon.com’s e-book self-publishing platform. The best way to get results from KDP is to DIY. Yes, seriously, if you suspect you might sell lots of ebooks, then cut out any middle man who may take a cut. All you need is your manuscript (properly edited and proof read) in a word document. Then simple follow KDP’s formatting guide which help you get started. You’ll have to create a cover for your ebook, using one of the many ebook cover tools out there – be mindful of KDP’s cover sizes and be sure to use an image which looks good in thumbnail size.
According to CNET blogger, David Carnoy, Amazon has upped its royalty to 70 percent for authors, but some rules apply (see the complete list of terms). This is the same royalty that Apple offers iPhone/iPad app developers and authors who sell e-books via its iBookstore store.
One of the leading ebook stores, Smashwords also requires a high amount of DIY. You upload your word document into their ‘meatgrinder’ tool and it spits out your e-book in almost every format imaginable. Their free style guide offers formatting advice which you must implement before you upload your file, or else it won’t work. The great thing about Smashwords is that they can aggregate your book out to various other sellers such as Barnes & Noble’s eBookstore, Apple’s iBooks, Sony, Kobo, and Stanza. In terms of royalties, Smashwords only takes a minimal cut. You will have to arrange your own ISBN though, but they offer a guide for that too.
The main attraction with Lulu is that they are the e-book aggregators for Apple’s iBookstore. According to Lulu’s terms, “Apple retains 30 percent of all revenue from sales on the iBookstore. The author receives 80 percent of the remaining revenue and Lulu receives only 20 percent. So, when an eBook sells for $19.99 on the iBookstore, the author receives $11.20.” Put another way, the Author receives 56% of the retail price, while Lulu takes 14%. Lulu can also create your e-book for you, and you can find out more about that in their e-book creation options.
4. Barnes & Noble’s Pub-It
This is Barnes & Noble‘s self-publishing operation and works similarly to Amazon’s, although there are notable differences. In terms of royalties, Pub-It offers author’s 65% for books priced at $2.99 or higher. If you price your ebook below $2.99 or above $9.99 it falls to 40%. There is a free conversion tool to convert your document to ePub format which you then upload to the eBookstore. For more info on Pub-It, click here.
Then there are e-book stores specifically geared towards publishers of romance novels such as All Romance E-books.
Print on Demand (POD)
POD sellers such as Indie Reader, CreateSpace, iUniverse, Xlibris, AuthorHouse, and other POD self-publishing outfits offer ebook conversion services, cover designs, consultations and distribution – but at a price. Often these are bundled into print and e-book options. Also, you may not always be allowed to set your own price, which means you don’t know how much commission they’re taking.
Other self-publishing services to watch:
Scribed.com offers a quick way to get your ebook on the internet. It offers conversion services that convert your document into formats downloadable on PC, iPad, or other portable devices.