There are a plethora of choices to make when you are in control of your publishing reigns. You need to research and select a cover. You need to develop a plan of action, create a path before, during, and after you’ve written the book, and that’s just for writing. Once you have completed editing, have a cover, and have created a marketing outline, you need to choose where and how you want to publish your book. This choice is important because it impacts your marketing plan going forward. Your marketing plan is how you reach your readers to share the new book with them.
Dedicated Channel or Wide?
One big question for new authors to consider is: Exclusivity or Wide distribution? There are pros and cons to each one. With the exclusive route, you are committed to Amazon for the circulation of your eBook. This commitment limits your audience to Amazon alone. However, Amazon is the largest reader oriented digital platform in the United States of America. Going wide means you’ve selected to publish on multiple book retailer websites and to reach a different variety of readers. For the sake of this article, we are going to assume you have selected not to commit to KDP Select and are going to distribute your ebook through a variety of different channels.
What is ebook distribution?
A distributor facilitates the broadest reach possible for your new, ready to publish, book. All publishers want to know their books can reach as many readers as possible. It is this desire that is where a distributor lends a hand. They have contracts and connections with multiple locations, some of which you may not be able to personally access. One example is Apple iBooks. Apple has not only very specific standards, but channels to use to upload. These requirements can be obstacles for new authors and authors without access to the Apple tools and programs. Using a distributor enables the creator to operate like a publisher and a small press to operate like a larger publisher. This includes breaching the obstacles typically not otherwise available to get your books listed on as many websites in as many virtual bookstores as possible.
So, which distributors should you consider?
The oldest known distributor with one of the biggest reaches is Smashwords. Their experience and skills have provided millions of books a vast opportunity to reach new readers they couldn’t have otherwise. With a stringent requirement for covers and book formatting, they ensure a level of quality required by the major outlets. Their reach includes library networks, all of the major United States and United Kingdom retailers, as well as subscription services. Pay varies and has recently moved to a monthly payout via PayPal. The founder, Mark Coker, is always looking for new ways to help independent authors and small press publishers expand their reach and encourage new readers to chose independent books. His passion is seen through everything he does for the independent community.
The newcomer to the marketplace is Pronoun. This distributor was arranged by one of the big five publishers as a service for independent authors. This service pays out at 70% across the board for all books from .99 cents to 9.99. This payout level is significant when you consider that several of the major retailers, such as Google Books and Nook do not pay a steady rate of 70%. Pronoun only distributes to the major retailers – Google, Apple, Amazon, Nook, and Kobo. While this is a newly established company with the potential support of a major publishing house, there are some hurdles in formatting and other services. They do have options available for hiring their team to help with editing, cover design, and the like, but their prices are well out of the reach of your usual independent author.
Both of these options are interesting, beneficial, and open doors to places many do not. They are also methods of simplifying your distribution process. Having everything in one spot is a great way to ensure your books sell at the prices you select. It also makes sales, tracking, and text changes easier to do from one location. If you’re willing to jump through the hoops of creation, development, marketing, and distribution standards, you’ll see a plethora of benefits through either of these distributors.
See also: How to Draft an eBook Disclaimer