There are basically two paths to self-publishing. Ingramspark and Amazon. The first step though should be a visit to Bowker.com to purchase ISBN’s and to link to the copyright registration office. Send your manuscript to be copyrighted (plus $69) and in a few weeks you’ll get a letter from the Library of Congress stating your copyright. You’ll get your ISBN’s from Bowker and the price is determined by volume. You’ll need at least 3, one for each format (ebook, paperback and hardcover). ISBN’s in hand you’re ready to setup an account on Ingramspark. You should also have a credit card in hand. How you setup the account is how the publisher will appear on some booksellers. Once your account is setup you’re going to choose paperback and ebook for $49, or hardcover for $49 or all for $98. The development for ebook and paperback is the same. You pick size (6×9), pick one of their covers or load your own and move to the interior. There are about 6 interior styles and you can preview them to find one you like. Load your manuscript (.docx) and then build your front text and rear text (dedication, acknowledgements)in the areas provided. When you’re happy with your work, ask to be reviewed. If approved you can hit “Global Distribution” and your book is going everywhere, including Amazon. There are some other steps, setting price, dealer discount, and return policy, but those are easy. The hardcover can be a challenge and rejection can be a 3 day process, each time. It might be prudent to get the hardcover approved and then build the ebook/paperback so the release dates are consistent. Scroll through the Ingram screens below.
The Kindle process is vastly different and far easier. I believe you can get started using your personal Amazon account. If not, have your credit card in hand. The process with Amazon is done like an interview. You fill in the blanks, pause to get the info they want, continue on until you’re ready to push the publish button. They allow you to do paperback and ebook cover design from their book builder or you can load your own. No hardcovers with dust jackets allowed, only painted hardcovers. If you have all of your materials in hand you can be a published author in a couple of hours. They will also allow you to name a Publisher, so you could use Sandy Springs Press if you wanted to. Click here if you’d like to learn more about our licensing program.
The downside to the Kindle process is the loss of the hardback and the Ingram network. It works great for 100 page novelettes priced @ $1.99 which is where the Kindle millionaires are focused.
My strategy at this point has two options.
- Once your manuscript is edited and readable, and the cover is set, list the book on Kindle Unlimited. I think the exposure is vast and like they say, those page reads add up. One other positive to Kindle is that you can upload any changes to your .doc at any time and they go live right away. No 3-4 day approval/rejection process like with Ingram. In the interim 90 days of KU exclusivity, build your book with Ingram so you pick up the ability to do hardcover and you get the exposure to their market. Stop the Kindle Unlimited at the 90 day mark and then allow Ingram to publish worldwide.
- Alternately you could just go with Ingram. They will list the book on Amazon for you and everywhere else. You can do all 3 varieties and they bundle the package(s) as ebook and paperback for $49, or hardcover for $49. Once approved, check all listings everywhere for availability, price, etc.. If you’re feeling lucky at some point after release, ask Ingram to pause the ebook and then you can list it on Kindle Unlimited. I can’t guarantee that this won’t cause repercussions, (an email from Ingram) but they didn’t kill Momma out of spite.
I mention KU repeatedly because the network is vast and you’ve got Amazon working for you until you turn them off. I got 870 page reads in the first couple of days with Little Church, which means that either three people read the whole book, or 870 people have read a page and put it down. Either way, I know the book is getting exposed on someone else’s nickel. Unfortunately I turned on KU at the same time that Ingram was releasing and I seemed to have created a faux pas. The important thing is that my books are on the Ingram network and Amazon at the right price and available to the public.
If you want to be in libraries, bookstores, etc. Ingram has to be in the mix. It’s just a shame that Kindle is so easy. If you’re picking one or the other for a work you want to be known for, go with Ingram.