Platforms – Part 1 of 2
by Theresa Snyder
Okay, so you have your book written. Several people have beta-read it and you have proofed it to the 10th power. Now it is time to format and post it to a platform for sale.
It seems everyone posts to Amazon. There are good and bad aspects to this. The bad: everyone posts to Amazon. You are a minnow among sharks.
Once you are on Amazon, you can choose to join its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)Select program, which locks you into giving Amazon total rights for 90 days. If you have had your books posted on other platforms, you will have to pull them down. If you do not go KDP Select then Amazon does not offer your work in India, Japan, Brazil or Indonesia. Many folks in those countries crave books in English, meaning you will miss all those sales.
I went with KDP Select for the first few months in order to give away my book for five days during each 90-day period. However, without a base of readers to give it away to, this did not benefit me.
Royalties are not near as lucrative with Amazon as they are with the other platforms.
The good: everyone posts on Amazon. You have a presence and a large number of potential readers will see you. That is, if you can manage to get the readers there. Amazon uses mobi-formatted files, which we will address in the next article, part 2 of “Platforms.”
CreateSpace is an Amazon affiliate. It will produce your book as a print-on-demand paperback. They are very helpful folks. Forms and upload are step-by-step and easy to use. If you send customers directly to them for sales, you receive a huge chunk of the pie rather than the small allotment you get if they find your book through Amazon and buy it there. The quality of the printed book is very good (I run a print shop so I know a good deal about this subject).
I have all my books with CreateSpace and since I put them in paper, I sell almost all hardcopy and few e-books. I am aware this is not the case for all writers, but it is for me.
Smashwords is the world’s largest distributor of e-books. They keep on top of trends and post them on their website. If you make it into their Premium Catalog (which is just a matter of formatting to their specs), they distribute your work to Barnes & Noble (Nook), Kobo, iTunes, Apple (iBooks), Scribd, Oyster, OverDrive, Flipkart, Baker & Taylor, Blio, the Axis360 Library service, and many more. The list goes on and on, giving you a worldwide presence.
If you opt for the Extended Distribution, which is free at this point, you will hit everywhere. Smashwords issues coupon numbers so you can give your books away if you want to have a promotional event.
Your slice of the royalty is much bigger with Smashwords. They use Word files, formatted through something they affectionately refer to as the “Meatgrinder.”
Google Play is the new kid on the block. They are still working out the kinks on their site, but the word among the authors I chat with is that there is much less competition here. You are a big frog in a little pond if one of your books takes off. These folks cater to the Android users in the world, and there are a lot of them out there.
I recently posted all my books on Google Play. Their posting is worldwide and if you have posted to the other sites, you already have your book in the correct formats for uploading here. They use ePub and Word-formatted files.
Apple has some great products, but they are spendy. Android offers all the bells and whistles at a much cheaper price.
Next month I will wrap up this series by talking about audio books and formatting.
Theresa Snyder is a multi-genre writer with an internationally read blog. She grew up on a diet of black-and-white, sci-fi films like Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still. She is a voracious reader and her character-driven writing is influenced by the early works of Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard. This is the seventh installment of her column for VoiceCatcher on self-publishing.