When I first heard of self publishing, Amazon Createspace was the service shouting the loudest.
This is still arguably the easiest platform for self publishing, offering:
1. Free ISBN allocation
2. Free design service (you can use their templates to create your cover, which automatically places your barcode on to the work)
3. Distribution around the world – a print on demand service, meaning that any costs of printing are simply taken off your profit total. This way, you never lose any money.
As I began to branch out and start wondering how to get my quality work into bookshops, I realised that as UK author, using an American service, there were many disadvantages to publishing through Createspace:
1. Createspace ISBNs are not accepted by many bookshops who may want to order your book.
2. Ordering my books from Createspace at ‘manufacturing cost’ so that I could sell them on myself, would take up to a month to ship to my UK address, and the shipping costs were too high for me to make any profit.
I was introduced to Ingram Spark as a distribution service. Like Createspace, they offer a print on demand service, which means no warehouse holding costs, and best of all, they have a catalogue which is sent to booksellers across the globe, giving sellers information on your book, and the opportunity to order direct from Ingram Spark.
I found that the advantages of Ingram were as follows:
1. Leading forces such as Waterstones had developed relationships with Ingram, and accepted ordering books through them.
2. Ordering from them direct, was much cheaper than Createspace and gave me the possibility of selling my books via my website – and generating a profit!
It’s not all plain sailing however. If you have a pre-existing ‘deal’ in the past year with Amazon Kindle, you won’t be able to sell Kindle books via Ingram Spark. You have to buy your IBSN separately. You also have to pay an upfront fee to create your book on Ingram AND if you want to be in their catalogue, you have to pay a marketing listing fee – so you have to hope you will make this back via book sales.
If you do, and the expanded distribution which Ingram offers pays off, then my bet is, you’ll never go back to the big boss that is Amazon.
Let me know what you think of these publishing services in the comments and if you have any which you would recommend to readers!