Indie Authors and Your Books: Where to Sell Online

Hi there. In today’s post, I want to talk about a few different online platforms where you can self-publish your book. I’m in the process of branching out and wanted to share our options to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. I’ve been with Amazon KDP for the last year or so (due to only having one book out, then using the Select program to promote the new title). Now that I’m free to publish elsewhere, I’ve joined NookPress and KOBO and am interested in the research as well as future results. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

AMAZON KINDLE DIRECT PUBLISHING: There are 2 things to address here. If you’re an indie author and your book isn’t on Amazon, then I’m gonna need you to go straight to their website and hit “Publish.” Amazon is the king of e-books right now and without them, you’re missing the biggest market available to indies. And YES, you can be on Amazon KDP and still publish on other online platforms! It’s only if you’re enrolled in Select that you can’t publish elsewhere. Which leads to…

kdp-amazon1

KDP Select. Now how about that part where your book can have free promotion days with KDP Select? Both WITCH HEARTS and GIFTED have been part of the Amazon KDP Program for several months. (You can read more about my success with KDP Select here.) Due to their rules, if you’re enrolled in this program, you cannot have your book listed anywhere else online until you’re finished with your 90 days – this includes your blog and website, too.

I always recommend to indies to start with Amazon KDP – if you’re a tiny name like me and are working your way up the writing ladder, it’s a great way to get exposure. I know there’s skepticism over whether KDP works, but when you’re just getting started with your first book or two, honestly, what do you have to lose? I’m perfectly happy with the idea that 22K people have my book on their Kindle – I’ve gotten 20 new reviews out of it (resulting in more sales), so I’m certainly not complaining!

KoboLogoKOBO: I’m new to KOBO, so any tips we can share is appreciated. I just uploaded both books to this platform; while I have yet to see any results, I’m pleased with the ease of usage as well as responses from other authors about it. When I posed the question about KOBO in one of my indie author groups, I had a few varied, but mostly positive responses. (Most preferred KOBO over say, Smashwords, and have had an easy time uploading their books; many are even moving about $100 a month, which is nothing to sneeze at – sure you can make more, but even that much cash is music to any indie author’s ears!) Indies Unlimited has a terrific article about publishing with KOBO and I highly recommend checking it out.

One of the downsides to KOBO is that you can’t write reviews – they pull your reviews from GoodReads, which, as we all know, can be for better or worse. Here’s a tutorial of how to get your reviews from GR up with your KOBO book pages.

This is a terrific list from IndieBound on bookstores carrying KOBO published books.

nooklogoNOOK: Admittedly, I put GIFTED on this site last year, before the release of my second book. I wanted to branch out, but was unfortunately disappointed in the results. That’s not to say others don’t do well there – again, as a small name building my way up, it comes as no surprise that people aren’t throwing their money at me.

So now that both titles will be available for the Nook, I’ll be able to promote a new platform. I’m excited about this, because according to most research, while the Kindle is the top-rated e-reader, the Nook is second in line. And of course with Barnes & Noble being like, the last major bookstore in the US (at least it sure feels like it in my city, minus a comic book shop and a couple used bookstores), you want to be able to tell people that yes, they can get your book through B&N!

SMASHWORDS: This platform produces multiple formats of your ebook, so customers can read it on many different e-readers. The site also distributes to other online retailers, like Barnes & Noble, Apple’s iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and Baker & Taylor. The thing is, I’ve found Smashwords to be enormously confusing due to the formatting guidelines and distribution times. Like, gives me a straight 2 week headache waiting to be approved and distributed.

smashwords-logo

Personally, I’m skipping the Smashwords platform because I use Scrivener, which allows me to automatically convert my manuscript to an epub or mobi file – this means I can upload directly to my KOBO or NOOK sites without needing a third party to do it for me. (In the past, you had to use Smashwords to upload to KOBO, but now they’ve got their own self-pub site, so I see no reason to use SW.) I’ve also heard some scary stuff about pirating via Smashwords and while I know that can happen pretty much any time, anywhere, I tend to shy away from any platform where people blatantly admit they’re getting pirated.

Once you’ve chosen your platforms and your books are published online, make sure to include all your links. Promote them through your various social media sites, on your website and blog, and maybe even include QR codes on swag or other stuff readers will pick up. We can put our stuff online, but if we’re not promoting it, we’re just spinning our wheels.

I would LOVE to hear your opinions on this, where your books are located online, and how you feel about the platforms you’ve selected (as well as why you selected them). Are you in the Apple iBookstore or Sony? I’m interested to hear what you guys think, as well as any recommendations or tips for how to be successful in the platforms you’ve chosen.

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