When planning to distribute an e-book on your own, there are a number of questions you should ask yourself and any distributor you go to. This will ensure that you get the best deal with the most flexibility in your distribution before your start self publishing.
When self publishing, most e-book distributors operate on a non-exclusive basis, however, some do offer services that are exclusive only. Non-exclusive services mean that you can distribute with them as well as continue to sell your ebook anywhere else you would like, therefore maintaining all rights to it. Exclusive services, on the other hand, only allow you to distribute through them and with no one else. Therefore it is important to check that your distributor offers the type of service you are after.
Most services have the standard practice of letting the author or distributor control the price of the book release (the only rule being no less than 99p). It is also important to note that retailers such as Amazon do not allow you to sell your book for prices lower than in their own store. If you are found to be doing this, they will automatically lower the price for the same product on their store.
When self publishing, most distributors will charge some kind of upfront fee for a stake in the royalties of the release. For example, a distributor could charge no upfront fee in exchange for an 20%-80% split of the royalties (in favour of the author), or they could charge an upfront fee in return for 100% royalties (in favour of the author). This decision mainly comes down to how much royalties you are expecting to earn from the book and if you can recoup the upfront fee.
This will determine whether or not you can use certain self publishing services in the first place. This could also tell you if you need formatting and conversion services on top of your distribution package with that company. Word files are the most commonly accepted format, and these are then converted into EPUB, .mobi or ARC files – deepening on store requirements.
In addition to what we’ve mentioned above, you will have some other important considerations to make when writing and designing the book. The importance of designing a strong book cover cannot be understated. Many self published authors consider the cover to be unimportant in comparison to the actual written work, however the appeal and professionalism of the cover is what will make or break the book; many readers decide whether or not the book could be worth reading based on their first glance.
This also goes for marketing your book. Make sure that before self publishing you have a clear idea of how you are going to promote and make your book known to other people. This can mainly be done through social media if you have a strong connection to fans already, or if you are a newer author you may have to look into book conventions and other events for small time writers around you – alternatively you can work with someone else to help them promote your book. Any way that you can make yourself known to people within the industry and to the casual reader is a worthwhile pursuit. The main goal with marketing is to create a buzz around your book before it is released, so that when your release date arrives you will have eager readers waiting to buy it.
These are just a few tips and questions you should think about before going ahead with self publishing a book. The world of e-books is large and constantly growing. Only by going in with a clear idea of how to market and publish will you stand out from the crowd. This will lead to a more successful book launch with a distribution and marketing plan that works in your favour.
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