If you were fortunate enough to attend the February 22 meeting of the California Writers Club Marin, you learned from BAIPA’s Ruth Schwartz, a.k.a. the Wonderlady, a.k.a. the Book Midwife, about the “Best Practices for Self-Publishing with KDP and IngramSpark.”
If you weren’t there, here are ten takeaways from the presentation:
1. KDP, which is owned by Amazon, is the best channel for self-publishing a paperback. Once published, it is immediately available for sale on Amazon.
2. If you want to be in bookstores or libraries, you also want to publish with IngramSpark, which is the biggest book distribution entity in the world, and has been around longer than Amazon.
3. You don’t dare walk into a bookstore with a book published by KDP and expect the bookstore to put it on their shelves. Not only can’t they make money on your book, Amazon has put many bookstores out of business and continues to be a threat to brick-and- mortar stores. (Book Passage has stayed alive because they not only sell books, but host conferences, events, author readings, and more, like renting space to organizations like CWC-Marin.)
4. Buy your own ISBN from myidentifiers.com. KDP will offer you a free ISBN. Don’t take it if you are going to publish on IngramSpark. Ingram will not accept it.
5. Your goal in self-publishing is to look as little like a self-published book as possible. One way to do that is to set up your own publishing company. (I did that for my third book — named my publishing company “Page-turners with a Conscience Press.”)
If you do create your own company, make sure you include it in the ISBN record on Bowker.
You should also file a DBA (“doing business as”) notice with your local county. (This is critical if you receive checks in the name of that publishing company, since you will need a bank account in that name, and the bank requires you to file a DBA.)
6. Use the same ISBN for both KDP and IngramSpark, and make sure the title, subtitle, and publisher name are exactly the same for both. Set it up in KDP first. If you do Ingram first, then KDP may not take it, because it’s already in the system.
7. There are three ways you can make money selling self-published printed books — (a) by publishing through KDP and selling through Amazon, (b) by publishing through IngramSpark and selling through bookstores and libraries, and (c) by buying author copies from either KDP or IngramSpark and selling them yourself at in-person events. (That’s where you’ll make the most money.)
If you buy author copies, you’re likely to earn more from KDP because your print costs will be less than with IngramSpark. Both KDP and IngramSpark have calculators so you can figure out the cost of your book, which will help you set the price.
On IngramSpark, set the discount at 55 percent, which means the bookstores get 40 percent.
(For my most recent book, When I Killed My Father: An Assisted-Suicide Family Thriller, with a retail price at $15. When I sell a KDP book on Amazon, I make $4.11. When a bookstore or library buys my book through IngramSpark, I make $1.55. When I buy author copies from KDP, they cost me $4.89, plus shipping, so when I sell a book at presentation for $15, I make about $9.)
8. To publish your book on KDP or IngramSpark, you have to upload print-ready pdfs. Either you or a designer you contract with has to do the interior layout, and turn that into a pdf. You also need to upload a pdf for the cover, which is one file that includes the front cover, the spine, and the back cover.
After you’ve uploaded your file, KDP has an online previewer where you can see what every spread looks like. It will show you where the spine is, and you can scroll through your book page by page, on the screen. Once you’ve approved that, you can get a proof copy, which will have a “not for resale” band around the middle of your cover.
9. No matter how many times you or others proofread your book, you will find mistakes after you publish. But you can fix those mistakes and upload a new pdf at any time.
10. KDP has no upfront costs to upload a book. You may need to pay an editor or designer to get your book ready to upload, but there’s no cost to upload. KDP/Amazon makes money every time you sell a book, or buy an author copy. KDP also does not charge for uploading new files with corrected typos.
IngramSpark does charge an upfront fee for uploading your files — currently$49 — and they charge $25 for uploading each revised file once you approve the book for distribution.
However, if you are a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), you will not have to pay any fees to IngramSpark. And if you are a member of the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (baipa.org), you can get a $30 discount when signing up as a member of IBPA.
(You can also learn a lot more about self-publishing by attending BAIPA meetings, which are on the second Saturday of each month at 9 am in Novato. See baipa.org.)
This post was originally published at http://cwcmarin.com/ten-takeaways-from-ruth-schwartzs-presentation-on-self-publishing-with-kdp-and-ingramspark/