This is a loaded question because there is no best way and there are many ways to do it. To make a decision, the first thing you must do is understand what it is you want to accomplish. But you must also take into consideration the size of your author platform, your marketing skills, your budget, how much time you can devote to marketing, how and where your ideal clients prefer to buy and whether or not you have relationships with influencers in your market.
So, let’s start with the easy answer.
To reach the largest audience with the least amount of stress, publish in Amazon. Amazon is the largest and most powerful bookseller. According to the Atlantic, they dominate with 65% of all new online book unites in both print and digital; they have the largest share of the ebook market with 67%, and 64% of sales of printed books online. Plus, it’s easy and it’s free, and if you don’t want to be bothered with doing a lot of research and setting up a bunch of accounts, plus the tracking of sales, publish in Amazon.
An added bonus to publishing in Amazon is that they have promotional tools that help you launch and promote your book easily to a large audience, even if you lack a budget! However, there are restrictions. (You must give Amazon an exclusive on your ebook for 90 days to use them.) That doesn’t mean you can’t sell from your website. You can put a link on your site to your Amazon page. You can also sell the print book there without restriction, at least at the present time. (Amazon is always upgrading and changing their rules, so you’ll always want to check when you publish.)
However, if you want to get your book into bookstores and/or libraries then you are going to have to look beyond Amazon.
The most popular option is Ingram Spark for their distribution options. When you publish in Ingram Spark, your book will be distributed to over 40,000 retailers and libraries. The quality of their print books is considered to be better than that of Amazon, although I have had my books printed in Amazon and been happy with the quality.
There is also a cost involved for Ingram Spark. They currently charge $49 for set up for the print and ebook. The ISBN and barcode are free inside the U.S; outside the U.S. you must pay for your own ISBN and barcode. Also be aware that with a free ISBN from Ingram Spark, it may limit where you can print and distribute your own title. (This is a consideration in Amazon as well. Amazon ISBN’s are only good on Amazon.)
If you want your own ISBN and barcode that can be used anywhere you’ll want to purchase them from Bowkers at www.myindentifiers.com. This is an added expense. And if you plan on writing more than one book, you’ll want to purchase a 10-pack as it is much more cost-effective.
I advise my clients to publish their ebook in Amazon so we can use the KDP to launch the book and Ingram Spark for the print book if they have the budget for it unless it’s a specialty book and there is a third-party seller specific to that genre. If they don’t have the budget for both then help them publish in Amazon.
The important thing is not to overthink it and just get your book out, especially if it’s your first book because the truth is that you could spend weeks or months obsessing over where to publish and get stuck. And then one of two things could happen 1. you wait so long that you need to revise the book 2. you use it as an excuse not to publish out of fear of rejection or success.
You can’t go wrong publishing in Amazon or Amazon and Ingram Spark for most books. But, in the next newsletter, I’ll cover some of the other third-party sites for self-publishing and the pros and cons.
If you have any questions about self-publishing please join our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/booksopendoors and post them. I’m happy to answer them there for you.