While the Kindle publishing platform is undoubtably the largest at present, this doesn’t mean that it’s the only viable publishing platform for self publishing authors. Judging by the number of comments and visits to my recent post, Self Published Authors Get Ready, You’re Being Dumped, there is a genuine concern amongst writers that having all your eggs in one basket can have some drawbacks.
For those who are already self published and are now considering the alternatives, or for those who may be thinking about self publishing for the first time, it is worth looking at the various platforms that are available.
Kindle Direct Publishing. Without a doubt, KDP is the quickest and easiest platform to publish ebooks. All you need is a .doc file of your manuscript, a cover image, and your book is published within 24 hours. The most important choice to be made when publishing with KDP is in deciding on whether to enrol exclusively in their KDP Select program. If you do, you cannot publish on any other platform. However, non-exclusive KDP publishing for Kindle is a really a must for anyone publishing ebooks.
Createspace and Lulu. For those wanting to publish in paperback, these two platforms are the most popular. Having your book available in paperback adds credibility, but in today’s market expect that ebook sales will probably far exceed paperback sales.
Smashwords. It is not as easy to publish ebooks on Smashwords as KDP, but the the extra time and effort is well worthwhile. Once approved for their Premium Program, your book will be available on Apple iBooks, Sony, Kobo, B&N Nook, Diesel and Page Foundry as well as Library Direct. Of course, you can publish direct with Kobo, Apple and B&N, but the convenience of publishing once with Smashwords makes it very attractive. I highly recommend reading the Smashwords Style Guide before publishing with them though as unlike KDP, the formatting requirements are of a high standard.
There are a number of smaller online publishers and retailers including AllRomance and OmniLit, Entangled Publishing and Elora’s Cave just to name a few. These are genre specific sites and worth looking at if you are writing in a matching genre.
The self publishing platforms I have mentioned above all provide their services for free. Some offer additional paid services, and when publishing in paperback, you will have to pay a minimal cost for proof copies. However, there are a number of publishers who call themselves self publishers but are in fact Vanity Publishers.
Authorhouse and Author Solutions. Don’t be fooled by the new labelling. Companies such as these who now call themselves self publishers are not self publishers. They are Vanity Publishers who charge a fortune for what you can do yourself for free, or for a minimal cost. All I can say is, beware.
No one knows what lies ahead. The publishing industry is evolving day by day and what works today may not work tomorrow, and visa versa. The best approach in my mind is to have your books and ebooks available on as many platforms and with as many retailers as possible. By doing this you will be positioned to take advantage of changing trends and popularity, especially with regard to ebook reading devices. While Kindle may be king at present, companies such as Kobo and Apple in particular are increasing their presence in the market.
Whichever way you choose to self publish, there will be ups and downs along the way. So be prepared and be patient, but most of all have fun and keep writing.