Information updated July 2016.

We all want to know WHICH is the best self-publishing platform and book distribution for our books or eBooks.  When you have a choice of Lulu, CreateSpace, Bookbaby, Bookpal, and IngramSpark… you might get confused.

(Please do not consider AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford and Xlibris or Balboa Press as publishers. They are part of the Author Solutions Inc sales machine.)

If you find a Self-Publishing/POD platform you would like reviewed before going ahead, please let me know. Or Google ‘Preditors & Editors’.

If publishing under your own imprint, I can work as your Editor/Production Manager in conjunction with any printer or print on demand service. See our Self-Publishing Process document, available on-site.

IngramSpark
IngramSpark is the self-publishing division of Lightning Source International.

Their Self-publishing calculators, templates and guides are important to use, particularly noting the royalty you are left with under varying options.

Pros are: excellent cover quality; printing of black & white books within Australia; fast ship times and a range of urgency pricing; and the backing of a huge company. Colour printing mainly has slower times as these are printed in the UK.

Colour printing mainly has slower times as these are printed in the UK.

IngramSpark offer a range of paper: standard white/creme, standard color, standard color 70 (105 gsm), and premium color. The price for premium colour is exorbitant and it’s not quite cookbook level, but it’s nice.

Order a ‘print sample’ from IngramSpark and from Blurb if your project is full colour, and compare the print + ship cost calculations. Blurb’s Trade books are from $5.60 B&W to $18 Econ. Color, for 188 pp, compared to $4, $7 or $11 with IngramSpark. Please re-check these prices as there have been price rises at IngramSpark.

Cons are the extra fees upon re-loading interiors or covers (US$25 each), slow to reach support (and they only answer one question per email), and the Royalty to retail is set at 55% unless you specify a lower amount.

Want to order 1 copy? POD (without a retailer) inside Australia attracts $8.50 postage/handling. However, you can order 50 to 100 copies cost-effectively and sell books privately all you like.  The prices are quite competitive at these low numbers. And some books fit in a document envelope and weigh under 500g, which saves a lot in postage.

Should I pay the $80 for IngramSpark Advance new book listing?  Well, it doesn’t have that wide a distribution, being 11,000 bookstores/librarians (US) and 3,000 international, but it’s entirely up to you. Every author must choose the best marketing methods to reach their audience; sometimes word of mouth and library supplier messaging is better than a lone print ad. See what other experts say at CreateSpace forum

Amazon Kindle

OK, so you want to deliver your ebook to the world’s biggest marketplace under Amazon Kindle Publishing. However, two things crop up:

  1. How is your ebook going to stand out?
  2. Are you going to distribute exclusive, with Kindle Select?

Firstly, standing out comes down to creating appealing imagery, title, subtitle, and an idea that appeals to your target market. The author of ‘Thin Thighs in 30 days’ did a lot of market research and listening to women to come up with niche appeal in a crowded diet book sector. The right keywords and category also makes your book more discoverable.

In Australia, for newbies it may NOT be wise to use Kindle Select, however feel free if you’re already got an ebook or three on there and you want to do special promotions and free offers.

Everything you want to know about Kindle publishing (if not getting help here) is at KDP Help, open to all.

Pros are:  KDP has the easiest wizard to pass the ebook conversion process.

They allow publishing from an already created .ePub file or from a stripped Word .doc file.

Lulu

The Print on Demand platform, Lulu, I recommend for the DIY author who wants to go global, is on a low budget, and is OK with the slow shipping to Australia. Overall it’s quite expensive for shipping low quantities of relatively short books. The paper is trade paper only. Please read:

Lulu Distribution – mainly free, unless your eBook is not pre-formatted. Lulu pays via PayPal every month you get a sale, so you don’t need a certain amount to be paid.

What’s missing?  Google Play Books and Amazon Kindle is missing from LuLu.

If your book is global, I strongly suggest you seek another eBook distributor – perhaps Smashwords if it’s solely an eBook, or IngramSpark if it is both print and electronic.

Go to Amazon Kindle Direct for eBook publishing only.

Google Play Books

To make your book available on Google Play, register separately on Google Play Books, for eBook or print book through their own interface. (They allow a uploaded preview and a cover image).

If you had a Google Book partner account, re-load your book content on the new account.

Also check the payment settings and input your Paypal account.

2 comments. Leave new

I would like to get a quote to get my book printed. Specifications: The size is standard A5. It’s 68 pages total. 2 pages full colour (front and back cover) and 66 pages black and white. Paper quality = 90gsm (**BOND) paper stock. Cover printed full colour with perfect bind finish. GLOSS CELLO COVER. How much would it cost for 500 copies? Thank you.

Hi Alex
Please use the Contact us forms to contact me quickly about book printing. I dont handle printing on its own but IngramSpark will be able to help. Regards, Jennifer

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