Top E-Publishers and How to Decide Which is Best for You

This week’s topic is all about self-publishing and how to profit from the skills you already have if you’ve ever studied persuasive writing.

Yesterday was about crafting your publishing plan. But today, I want to get into an area where self-publishing may get confusing: All the myriad ways to actually get your book online.

Below, I’ve put together a general explanation of your basic options. There are exceptions to these rules, and no two experiences will be the same. But it’s safe to say that whatever your individual author needs are, there’s an appropriate e-book publishing service out there for you.

Here are the top four publishers at a glance:

  • Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Amazon’s KDP is probably the most well-known e-publishing platform. It lets authors convert and distribute their e-books across all Kindle devices and Kindle apps. KDP offers a 70% royalty for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Marketing services are available for a fee.
  • Kobo Writing Life. Kobo has a user-friendly, five-step process for uploading your e-book. Its royalty structure is 70% of the list price on books that are $2.99 and higher, and 45% for books priced between 99 cents and $2.98. Kobo partners with the American Booksellers Association, which makes it possible for thousands of independent bookstores to make Kobo e-books available for purchase through their websites.
  • Smashwords. As one of the largest distributors of independently published e-books, the e-books on Smashwords can be read online using Smashwords readers, or they can be downloaded to other reading devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch, Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, or Barnes & Noble Nook. The advantage to using a distributor like Smashwords is that it saves you time as an author from having to upload your book separately to each retailer. Smashwords gives you 60% of the list price from major e-book retailers and 85% net from sales directly through Smashwords.
  • BookBaby. BookBaby is another book distributor that gets your e-book out to major retailers like Nook, Kobo, Amazon, and iBookstore. You choose from three different publishing packages that offer varying royalty deals ranging from 85% to 100%. BookBaby also offers cover design options as well as additional marketing options.

Other e-publishers worth looking into include Scribd, LuLu, Nook, Vook, and eBookIt.

If you’re not interested in using an electronic publisher, you can:

  • Publish your own E-book. This is where you write your book, turn it into a PDF document, and then upload it for direct sale as a download through a website. (Bob Bly has mastered this territory, so look to him as an example or take his program: Bob Bly’s Ultimate Guide to E-Book Writing Success.)

You might be thinking this is a lot to take in, and you’re absolutely right. This is where a lot of would-be self-published authors get overwhelmed and throw in the towel, because they don’t know how to navigate all these options.

But the bottom line is you need some way to keep on top of the ever-changing landscape of self-publishing. So, make it easy on yourself. Take them one at a time and look up everything there is to know about each of the e-publishers. Spend a week researching pros and cons. After a few days of reading as much content as you can find on each publisher, you’ll start to recognize terms and offers, and you’ll get a feel for the one you’re most comfortable with.

Pick just one of them for today and start reading up on it. (Which one are you leaning toward and why? Share your opinions here!)

Tomorrow, I’ll wrap up the week by sharing the secret to getting a great book written.

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Published: April 30, 2015

7 Responses to “Top E-Publishers and How to Decide Which is Best for You”

  1. What about considering draft2digital dot com? After the initial Kindle launch, and when I had come off their exclusive Kindle Select program, I started with Smashwords (they have an excellent free guide to preparing your manuscript), but have used draft2digital for several other books since then, and they appear excellent.


  2. The best place on the web to publish your book, both print and eBook is probably Lightning Source Incorporated, or their single book author option, Ingram Spark.

    Why? You get access to Ingram's global distribution network (distribution being the greatest challenge facing the self-publisher).

    Clayton Bye

  3. kindle is easy to use, plus you can do a print book at the same time.

    smashwords, as i recall, has elaborate formatting requirements that were a bit cumbersome.

    Guest (steve kellogg)

  4. This article is very informative. These services are very crucial to any writer that wants to go the self-publishing way. But when you are outside the US, and Europe, it suddenly becomes very very tiring and frustrating due to tax issues and royalty payments. The rise of the eBook eliminated international barriers to publishing. In Africa where I am, a lot has changed. The payments system is more secure and have improved dramatically in the last five years. Over 50 percent of Africans use smartphones and access the internet from devices that serve as good eReaders. A lot of authors will profit more if they begin to look at the African continent and develop strategies on how to enter the market.

    Guest (Maxwell)

  5. Thanks Mindy, I wasn't aware of those options for e-book publishing.

    I'm leaning toward Wheatmark, they do both physical and ebook in all the major formats.

    They also have book publishing and marketing blueprint services to help you craft your project from the start.

    If you have any experience with them I'd love to hear your comments!

    Jeff Klaubert

  6. this is a very educative piece of writing thank you

    Guest (uma devi)

  7. I suggest you check out Booklocker. They offer a full range of publishing services and their prices are amazingly low compared to any other service. They also do not accept any book accompanied by a check. They print only good quality books. Check them out here: publishing dot booklocker dot com


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