How To Self-Publish On Amazon, Kindle And iBookStore

For the last 14 months I’ve been learning how to become a self-published author. And by that, I mean not only PDF ebooks available on the blog, but also printed books on Amazon, Kindle versions and, of course, for the latest hype in town, ePub-based ebooks in Apple iBookStore. What follows is a (very) distilled story of my own experiences. But as distilled as it is, prepare for a few thousands words article (I suggest putting aside at least 20 minutes to read it from the top to the bottom).

The eBook

Based on this article, there is an entire ebook, available on Kindle and as a PDF (iBookStore version here). Get the table of contents, foreword and the first chapter here.

Digital versus Printed

This used to be a very hot topic a few years ago. Traditionally, the printed books industry was very hard to penetrate. The most common approach was to use a publishing house (or, to be more precise, to be used by a publishing house). It was also the most difficult one. But it worked.

During the last few years, things have changed dramatically. Now you can use online tools to make your book available in printed format and you can do this at a very affordable price. Just keep in mind the following differences between digital and printed:

  • printed books are slower to reach the market. It can take weeks or months until they become available to major book resellers
  • digital books have a huge variety of formats (ePub being one of the most populars) but they can also have a high rate of piracy
  • in both cases, if you are a self-published author, you will need a (very) strong presence online to promote your books. Because nobody else will do it for you. Getting them “in the system” is just the first step.

Now, let’s get practical.

Self-Publish With CreateSpace

If you don’t know what CreateSpace.com is, it’s time to find out that this is Amazon’s self-publishing company. The site offers a variety of tools to make your content available on Amazon’s online selling platform (which happens to be the largest in the world, by my knowledge). You can publish a variety of content, from multi-media DVDs to songs and, of course, books.

Signing up is free and there are no upfront costs. When you sign up, you can chose what type of product do you want (a book or a mp3 or a downloadable video) and then the type of setup do you want (expert, if you’ve been there before, or guided, if you’re just starting up). Feel free to start with the guided setup, just to get s glimpse of what you can do around. Here’s how the dashboard of the guided tour looks like (the red dots means those steps aren’t yet completed, click on the image for full view).

And here’s how it looks after you completed all the steps.

The Book Setup

Once you added the title of your book, it’s time to add the rest of the metadata (author name, contributors, subtitle, volume, etc). After that, you go through the physical setup: what type of interior do you want for your book (black and white or color – of course, the color interior will mean you’ll pay more for each copy). An important step is what they call “Trim Size” or the actual physical size of the book. I recommend using an industry standard size. If you created your book with a standard word processor, you can mach the “Page Setup” sizes of the word processor with the sizes you can have in CreateSpace. In my experience, it’s better to go with a standard size, at least for your first titles.

The next step is to add your ISBN. Very shortly, an ISBN is a unique identifier for your book, which is now an international standard. ISBN used to be a tough rock for many self-published authors and, in some respect, it still is. Luckily, CreateSpace can give you an ISBN for free if you don’t have one. If you want to buy your own, you can go to Bowker if you’re in US, or you can get one for free, provided that you will send copies of your books to the national library of your country. This is the case in Romania and New Zealand, for instance.

What’s the big deal with these ISBN numbers and why is important to have your own? Because if you have your own ISBN number you will be listed as the publisher of your book too, not only the author. So, if you want to make a business out of publishing books, you should consider getting your own chunks of ISBN numbers. Other than that there is no other major impact of ISBN. If you use CreateSpace assigned ISBN, the only difference is that CreateSpace will be listed as your publisher.

Once the ISBN thing solved, you can add a cover for your book. Now it can get tricky. You can either use their online cover creator, or you can get smart and do your own. Either way, CreateSpace will provide a few templates, based on the format of your book. This is where the “Trim Size” thing become important, your cover will obviously have to match the size of your book and if the book is non-standard, well, there will be problems. A printed book cover is not just a plain PSD file with fixed margins, you have to leave some tolerances and be sure to have enough space from the margins for your title or images. Once again, start exercising with the templates offered by CreateSpace.

A very important step after you did all of the above is to upload your book. CreateSpace allows PDF file formats. That’s relatively convenient, since many word processors can save your content in PDF too, but it can become tricky if you have embedded fonts. You must be sure that you will embed your fonts in the final PDF uploaded to CreateSpace.

The Review Step

Once you uploaded all the necessary data for your book (including the actual book file and the cover) you gotta review it. This is the place where you can start spending some money, Because you will have to order a proof copy for your book. If you don’t live in US, this could add a lot of time to the entire process. You do have several shipping options, but the fastest one will be actually more expensive than the book. I usually choose the medium one, which is only a couple of weeks and around 10 USD.

Be aware that you get in the mail (in the snail mail, that is) is the actual book that will be shipped to your readers. Do not try to overlook this step. Once the whole publishing machinery is started, it’s becoming very intertial and any change to your book may take weeks or months until it is propagated. Not to mention that you will still have “wrong” items on the market.

So, make the necessary changes and restart the whole proofing process.

The Selling Process

Once you are ok with the proof copy, you can move to the selling process. In this step you’re adding a description for your book (the one that will be seen on Amazon book page) a BISAC description (a standardized, category based descriptor used by libraries), search keywords, publication date and so on.

Once you’re satisfied with it, you can go to the next step, which is the price of your book. The interesting part comes immediately after that, in a zone called “distribution channels”. With CreateSpace you have 3 options:

  1. sell it through CreateSpace store (which is like your own ecommerce site) by giving the direct link to your potential clients.
  2. sell it through Amazon (and making it available to Amazon searches and ranking system)
  3. sell it with the Expanded Distribution Channel (which comprises, among others, libraries and academic institutions or other online book sellers)

The royalty you can get for each channel will decrease proportionally, meaning the highest royalty will be on CreateSpace and the lowest on the Expanded Distribution Channels. But there is more than that. The royalty calculation is a little bit more complex and it involves the enrollment in a so-called “pro-plan” (where you have to pay upfront and only once a fixed price for each book you want to enroll) and the number of pages of your book. The “pro-plan” is an interesting option, because it doesn’t only guarantees bigger royalties but it will also gives you lower prices when you order your own copies.

And Now We Wait

After you completed all the steps, your book will be published shortly. And by shortly I mean hours or, at worst, days. But, as I already told you, getting your book out is only the first step. Now it’s time to start your marketing campaign (if you ever thought of something like this) and start creating some buzz around your titles.

Self-Publish On Kindle

Another interesting option for self-published authors is Kindle. Until a year ago, Kindle was just a device. But in the last 6 months, Amazon made a very interesting move with this. Namely, they created Kindle apps. These apps are book readers connected to the Kindle repository, just like the actual device, only they “live” in other operating systems. So now you can have access to your Kindle books not only from your device, but also from your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android or whatever device you may think of. That makes Kindle a very interesting option for self-published authors.

The Easiest Thing

Compared with CreateSpace, Kindle publishing is a breeze. Just a word of caution: if you previously published your book on CreateSpace they do offer a conversion service. Namely, they will take your printed book and convert it into a Kindle ready file. But at 69 USD I consider it pretty much a robbery. Read on and see why is that.

In order to start publishing on Kindle you gotta sign up at kdp.amazon.com. You may use the same username and password you usually use with Amazon, or you can create a new one, just for that. Here’s what you see when you log in (this is my real dashboard, with all the titles I published so far, click for full image)

After adding your title, you have a two steps wizard. In the first step you add your book metadata and files, while in the second you manage your publishing rights, add the price and choose your royalty level. More on that in a second.

When you add your book files, you can also add a separate file for the cover, just like at CreateSpace. But you can also choose to protect your book content via DRM (digital rights management). I’m not a big fan of DRM, so I didn’t went for it. The file format accepted by Kindle is PRC, and you can use a variety of tools to convert your book to it. But it also accepts ePub file formats and that’s quite a relief. Because the latest version of Pages for Mac is transparently creating ePubs from any document you want (as long as it is a WordProcessing based document). If you’re on Windows, I recommend checking out the Kindle formatting guide.

In the second step of the wizard, you establish the price and your royalty level. Also, you state what your distribution rights are (worldwide, or differentiated for countries / territories). I always chose “worldwide” because it was my own content, but your mileage may vary.

For the royalty, you have two plans, a 35% royalty and a 70% royalty. The 35% applies to titles under 2.99 USD, while the second plan applies to titles priced between 2.99 and 9.99 USD. You can also have the option to choose the price for Amazon UK and DE separately or based on the US Amazon price (I usually let it do it automatically).

And that’s it. Publishing your book may take a few days after you completed the two-steps wizard. In my experience, the shortest waiting time was 2 days while the longer was 5 days (but it included a week-end too). Once the ebook is published you can test it on your Kindle by partially downloading it (Amazon allows this for many of its titles).

One last word: the formatting of a Kindle ebook is very different than the formatting of a printed book. So expect your Kindle ebook to look strangely different than the printed version. Also, keep in mind that Kindle automatically converts your color illustrations to black and white.

Self Publish With iBookStore

Backed up by Apple legendary hype, iBooks is a recent player in the self-publish area. To be honest, I came to it after a (very) long detour. As you may already know, I do write iPhone and iPad apps for a living (iAdd being one of them) and that made me quite familiar with the AppStore. So, at some point I decided that it would be interesting to publish my ebooks on the AppStore, by creating them as standalone apps. It seemed like many people were doing this. I created an app, imported the book content on it and submitted to AppStore.

Surprise! My app got rejected. The message said something about publishing my app as a book, in the iBookStore. I went back and forth a few weeks with the Apple support guys until I finally got somebody on the phone. Yes, Apple is legendary for its opacity too, it may take weeks until you get a support guy to talk to you on the phone. After I discussed with him for like half an hour, I finally understand that I have no other option than to publish my books in the iBookStore.

For hose unfamiliar with the Apple ecosystem, publishing a book in the iBookStore means it will be available in the app iBooks, not under the Books category in the AppStore. It’s a little bit confusing and it took me a while to understand that. Apparently, Apple has an AppStore for apps (which may include a category called Books) and another store for books, called iBookStore, which mimics the same structure of the AppStore.

Well, it all came into pieces when I read the requirements for publishing in the iBookStore. Among other common sense things you need in order to publish your book, like an Apple account, there was something new: an ITN number (or, if you’re an individual, a Social Security Number). And that is because the revenue you get from selling a book has a different taxation process than the revenue you get from selling apps. I don’t know why is that, it’s just the way it is. Apparently, royalties have also a different cross-country taxation, so if you get royalties from US into a company based in New Zealand (which is precisely my case) you can get some sort of tax credit back. Luckily, my accountant, which whom I spoke a number of times on this topic, knows much more than me about that.

To make a long story short, I applied for an ITN number for my company, Mirabilis Media (NZ) Limited and after I got it, I started the publishing process.

The Apple Uploader

Another well known tradition of Apple is that it makes things extremely difficult for its contributors (iPhone developers are well aware of that). So, after incredibly long logistic delays and lack of information, I was finally in the position of uploading my ebooks. From this point on, things were starting to get extremely smooth. Apple created a Mac app for uploading your book. It’s called iTunes Producer and it has a very simple, wizard-like interface and it makes uploading your book to the iBookStore a really pleasant experience. I’m absolutely honest about it, it’s really simple to use and a big step forward made by Apple towards a better user experience.

I won’t go through the whole process, because the metadata is pretty much the same as for CreateSpace or Kinde. One important thing that has to be mentioned, though, is that the format accepted by Apple is ePub. As I already told you, converting a Pages document to ePub is just a matter of two clicks: “Export” and choose “ePub”.

Another important thing is that you may have free ebooks in iBookStore. Important if you plan to make available some of your content for free, for whatever reason you may think of.

Oh, and the royalties you earn in Apple iBookStore are following the general AppStore rule, 30% Apple – 70% you.

After you submit your book to iBookStore you gotta wait to be reviewed. In my experience, iBookStore had the longest delay from the moment you finished all your job, until the book is live. Minimum two weeks. So it’s a little bit of a time consumer, you should take that into account when you start publishing your books. Here’s how my iBookStoe dashboard is looking right now.

My Books

Well, this is it. As I told you, this process started 14 months ago, when I first published my books on Amazon. It wasn’t a continuous process (I’m not that slow in learning :-) ) but rather one based on the opportunities. Basically, when a distribution channel looked both affordable for me and mature enough, I went for it.I started with CreateSpace but when Kindle and iBookStore became affordable and worthwhile, I started to use them too.


Now, here’s how my self-publishing portfolio is looking like:

Brilliantly Better

Amazon | Web | Kindle | iBookStore

 

 

 

 

 

100 Ways To Live A Better Life

CreateSpace | Amazon | Kindle | iBookStore

Korean version

 

 

 

100 Ways To Screw Up Your Life

CreateSpace | Amazon | Kindle | iBookStore

Korean version

 

 

 

The Productivity Trap

CreateSpace | Amazon | Kindle | iBookStore

 

 

 

 

The 7 Ages Of An Online Business

CreateSpace | Amazon | Kindle | iBookStore

 

 

 

 

Natural Productivity – Assess, Decide, Do

Amazon | Web | Kindle | iBookStore

 

 

 

 

If you clicked through the links you may have noticed that there are very significant price differences between the same editions of the same book, based on the publishing channel (Kindle, Amazon, iBookStore) but also based on the territory too (in UK prices are slightly higher). Wonder why?

It’s a little bit more complicated and it will not fit in just one blog post. What I can tell you though, is that it’s partially because of some limitations in the distribution channels (Kindle doesn’t allow a difference wider than 30% between a printed title and its Kindle version) but also because of some personal marketing strategies.

Now, if you have any more questions about this article, feel free to ask them in the comments, I’d be happy to answer.

Wait! There’s More!

Seriously? Yes, seriously. If this article gave you a bird-eye view of what self-publishing is, then the ebook based on it will take it to the next level. Please note it tool me one day to write the article, but more than one month to put together the ebook.

You know, I had a very nice story about how this ebook was created, because there is a nice story behind it, but after a while I decided to keep it for the foreword. So, if you’re curious, you’ll have to get the book. And you’ll also want to get the book if you want to have a look at the newly added chapters, like: How To Write An Ebook, How To Promote And Monetize An Ebook, and so on.

Just to give you an idea, this article has around 3.000 words. The ebook has 16.000. And it’s only $6.99 $4.99 $.3.99.

You do the math :)

Available on Kindle and as a PDF (iBookStore version coming soon).

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379 Responses to How To Self-Publish On Amazon, Kindle And iBookStore

  • [...] books using Amazon, Kindle and iBookStore, I wrote and extensive post about it on my personal blog: How To Self-Publish On Amazon, Kindle And iBookStore. [...]

  • Dragos, this is a cool breakdown. It would also be great to get some sales stats. I’ve been doing a lot of research on Kindle eBooks lately and it’s fascinating. I’m in the process of publishing my first (submitted yesterday, but I already know I’m going to have to reformat and resubmit).

    • Hey Karol, glad you liked it. The stats are irrelevant at the moment, since I didn’t yet started to promote the book (if you don’t take this post into account). I just posted a link every now and then on Twitter, but that was all. I plan to start promotion in the second half of May.

      But even as such, I sold 8 books on Kindle and 4 on iBookStore (that’s in about a month). The total revenue, after Amazon and Apple are taking their cut, is around 55 USD.

      Hope it helps. If you need more info (or even if you want to work together in cross-promoting our books) don’t hesitate.

      • Ahh, cool. I’m going to hit the Kindle hard soon. Would love to chat sometime about promotion / cross promotion.

      • Radu Garbovan says: December 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm

        Salut!
        Greetings from Romania!

        I have been making research about e-books and I am intending to publish soon. But there is one major problem I couldn’t get through, and that is payment. As far as I’ve seen, I cannot really get paid for selling on Amazon and Kindle while in Romania, but still, I’m not 100% sure. Do you have any idea about how I can do this?

        Thank you in advance!

        • For some reason, I didn’t see this comment until now. Yes, of course you can get paid, there’s no problem with that, as far as I know. You will need a tax id number, but again, that’s not very complicated.

  • Yeah, that’s a really helpful guide! :) I always thought self-publishing was a bit more complicated than that. Self-publishing now looks like a really great option for my projects :)

    I’m curious about your promotion strategy for your books. Will you write a post about your strategy later on?

  • Thx for the nice overview. I have been trying to figure out how to sell an ebook – not a kindle version – on amazon.com but by the looks of it they are kicking that out and seem to wanna go kindle only. that is great when you are actually doing stories and such, but for a how to book i cannot really deal with ‘just’ flowing text.

    They do claim on the website that there is an ebook way of selling, but I do not see on your amazon.com profiles any of those options. Also is it intentional that they are sometimes linked with their alternatives and sometimes not (kindle edition / paperback etc)

    thx

  • You can publish your book on Amazon via CreateSpace, it’s a company owned by Amazon. It willl be published on the main Amazon.com website and printed on demand. As for advertising both version, it happens only when there are two versions (i.e. printed and kindle).

  • Yes, as you described it. But I was wondering if you could tell something about the ebook option if there is still one at the amazon.com throught createspace. :)

  • If you have a book already published through CreateSpace they will convert it to a Kindle ready format for 69 USD (it’s in the blog post, in the Kindle section).

  • Wow, what a wealth of information. I went to a writer’s workshop last month and after an entire day, I did not know as much as I just learned from reading your article. This is a treasure trove. Thank you so much for spending the time to set this all out so clearly.

  • Dragos, your english in writing is good enough that there should not be a problem in understanding my question yet constantly you do misunderstand. ;))
    Let’s try this.
    You can publish a kindle book on the kindle through KDP. A kindle book is a reduced way of publishing, as it is basic html. A well formated ebook will _not_ work there, becuase it is not kindle format.

    You can publish a printed book through createspace.
    You can sell a createspace book in the estore according to the website and it seems that you cannot have a book in the estore without it also being a printed book (which then is just the printed book also as an efile)

    The question was: Is there a way to _only_ have an ebook through the amazon store as far as you can tell when you look deeper into your account?

    My guess from what I read in the docs is you cannot. In order to sell an ebook on amazon with createspace you will have to create a working printed version first.

    Meaning: if you just want to go for ebook (formatted to look good, not a reduced version for the kindle or itunes which follows other benefits) you can use something like smashwords and alike, but not through createspace.

    • Hey Nicole,

      So, if I understand correctly, you look for something like Amazon, but for ebooks? iBookStore can play this role as well as Kindle. The problem is not the store, but the formats. ePub is a format a bit restrictive, but it can be used to publish image-rich ebooks in a fixed format. Kindle chose to have a fairly restrictive format, and the most important drawback is that they convert all your images to black and white. In iBookStore you can have color images without any problems at all.

      So, the problem for Kindle is the format (they convert your images to black and white and use a rather simplistic format) while in iBookStore you can have a fixed format, including color images. If you have an account with Apple and an iDevice I recommend downloading a free ebook from iBooks (there is one with Winnie the Pooh, I believe) to see how they allow having image rich ebooks published. This is what you want if you want to publish HowTo’s. An important part of one of my ebooks is in HowTo format and it looked pretty well in iBooks.

      In my experience, the problem with iBookStore is that they’re not very popular right now. Kindle – iBooks score is now 8 – 3 in my experience.

      Hope this answer your question. :-)

  • Hello Dragos,
    WOW!! You definitely believe in giving back to those of us self publishers who need loads of help with converting our pdf books to Amazon, Kindle And iBookStore.

    I have just finished two books with lightning source, and have my isbn numbers and covers. Do you happen to know of anyone who I can hire to take the pdf books and convert to the Amazon, Kindle And iBookStore?

    Would appreciate any suggestions from all.

    Best,
    Patricia

    • Patricia,

      If you’re on a Mac, invest a few bucks in buying Pages. The latest version converts a Pages document to PDF and ePub. For CreateSpace / Amazon printed books you need a PDF, which you already have. For Kindle and iBookStore, you need only an ePub. So, if you have your source files in Pages, it’s just a matter of hitting the “export” button. That’s my recommendation, especially since you’re thinking at some medium or long term activity in this field of self-publishing.

  • Hi Dragos,
    Is it possible to publish on Amazon even if I’m not a american citizen? Who decides the price of the book published? Thank you for your time.

  • Great blog about what is required! I have published on the kindle store.. Do you think createspace is worth it? Has anyone ordered a printed copy of your book? I’m not sure if it’s worth the hassle

  • Thanks Dragos! This information helped me decide to do a Kindle conversion of my book. I just received the files back from Createspace and it looks a little strange (as you mentioned) so I am going to contact them to make sure it looks the way it is suppossed to look. Thanks again!
    http://www.amazon.com/Words-Wisdom-Stay-at-Home-Their-Husbands/dp/1461017971/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1305610214&sr=1-1

  • Excellent job! I am sure anyone will appreciate more tutorials like this. Dragos Thank you for taking the time to do all of that.

  • Judith Littardi says: May 28, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Hey Dragos,

    Thank you for the most informative overview. We have been trying to contact Apple to find out what the minimum earnings threshold is for ebooks sold on their iBookstore, i.e. the amount a self-publisher has to earn in royalties before Apple will actually send payment. Would you happen to know what this is? Also you mentioned that you eventually got someone from Apple on the phone. We have been trying but have so far been unsuccessful. Would you mind giving us the phone number you managed to get through on?

    Many thanks,

    Judith Littardi

    • I think it’s 100 USD but it depends on your local currency too, I suppose. As for the phone number, I got contacted because I filed a resolution complaint and the phone number wasn’t a direct one, I think I got contactsed via a diverted number.

  • Karl Littardi says: May 31, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Hey Dragos,

    I am struggling to find out how to get the iTunes Producer application. I am already a registered Apple Developer for iOS and Mac OS; but, for the life of me, I cannot seem to get a straight answer to the question: “Where do I get iTunes Producer?”

    The web page that I see when logged in to my developer account, does not show an icon or link to iTunes Producer – as is described in Apple’s PDF document: “Using iTunes Producer 2.1.2 for Books” …

    Could you help please?

    It is my wife, above, who has been asking questions related to earnings thresholds and such … may I thank you for helping answer her questions too … much appreciated.

    Karl Littardi

    • There is a place where you can download, but I don’t have a URL right now. You’d better do a search on Google for that, as the Apple Interface is confusing.

  • Shaun Obrien says: July 3, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Thanks for the break down Dragos .Wanted to know does amazon do pre-order books for self publishers digital or hard cover…….

    • What do you understand by pre-order books? You can order your own copies for a much lower fee, if we’re talking about print,

      • Shaun Obrien says: July 3, 2011 at 1:14 pm

        What i mean by pre-order is having the book on sale before its actual release date. so customers can order it but wont recieve it before the publication date. Do you know if amazon or barnes and noble offers this serveice to self publish authors.

        • Judith Littardi says: July 3, 2011 at 8:35 pm

          Hi Shaun,
          Sorry to eavesdrop but yes Amazon does have a pre-order service for hard copy books. We know this because we have recently launched our own hard copy version of a book we are planning to publish digitally very shortly. The title is ‘Non-sync, tabs & cream soda’. For the first week it was showing as pre-order only, now it’s saying ‘temporarily out of stock but order now and we will contact you when it’s available’. This is because it takes about 15 working days for all the data to pass from our printers to Amazon, until the listing is finally complete.
          Hope you found this helpful.

  • Thank you so much for taking the time too help and share your knowledge and wisdom. That is the first thing I want to say. I have already finsihed my first writing and I want to know how you protected your writngs? Do you go through the copyright office? Can you tell me more about the ISBN number being free at Bowker?

    • I protected my books by registering them with the New Zealand ISBN system, which automatically made me send a copy to them. Because of that, I didn’t have to pay for the ISBN number. There are a number of countries which are keeping the ISBN numbers free, Romania and New Zealand are among them. As far as Bowker, I don’t know if their ISBN numbers are free, on the contrary.

  • Thank you so much for this help!! I originally started designing and administrating websites for income. I also write for a technology blog, http://thegadgetsite.com. However, none of this produces enough income for me. While those remain hobbies, my sister gave me the idea of writing eBooks. Less expensive than producing a printed book and easier to publish. I just published my first eBook on Kindle and this post was a huge help. I have a question, though. I’m not sure which country you live in (I’m in the US), but I’m not sure how to go about with copyright, as the previous commenter mentioned. Do you go through the copyright office?

    • Read above. I didn’t go to the copyright office. Intellectual property is a much more complicated topic than just self-publishing and I would suggest to do a thorough research on the Internet. What an ISBN is giving is a way to be registered, it doesn’t have anything to do with copyright, which is a completely different story.

  • Hi Dragos,
    Thank you so much for all the incredibly helpful information. I am a complete novice when it comes to anything techie, so feel sure it will be invaluable to me as I try to self-publish my book.
    My only query (which is probably just me being dim!) is regarding the cost involved in self-publishing through createspace. How do they make their money? Is there a fee to pay upfront or do they just take their share from any sales made?
    Oh, and one more thing, do you know how createspace compares to other similar self-publishing sites, such as lulu?
    Thanks again for your genrosity and help, and I hope your books are doing well after all your hard work.
    Best wishes,
    Anita

    • Createspace takes a part of your revenue, that’s how they make money. Also, they take some fixed fees for some more profitable plans. For instance, in one plan you get like 10% revenue, and you don’t have to pay anything upfront, but in another one you can get 20% revenue but you have to pay a fixed fee upfront. The real percentages may be found at their site, I just used some dummy numbers. I don’t know how lulu does this, never used it.

  • I have a book already published. It hasn’t been selling well. It’s overpriced. Can it be converted to a kindle book and how would I do it? Who would I contact to get started to get it don. ? Thanks for any help. Evohn

    • If you read through the article above you’ll find a lot of actionable things you can do to convert your ebook into a kindle book.

  • Benjamin Davis says: July 28, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Hi, I really learned a lot from your article, but there was one thing I’m still not clear on. I spent quite a while reading over Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing contract, but I’m no media lawyer. I saw it say that I have to sign over “nonexclusive” distribution rights. Does this mean that I can publish for kindle, and then surf over to the ibookstore and simultaneously publish there as well?

  • Hi Dragos,
    I just published a photo ebook on Barnes and Noble.I didn’t need an ISBN to do so.
    Now I went to Apples iBook and found a link to LULU for a free ISBN. The free ISBN
    makes LULU the publisher of my book. Is this a bad idea? Does it interfere with my sale on B&N? I would like to sell this on iBook but dont want to mess up my account
    with B&N.

    • Who the publisher is doesn’t impact much as long as you retain the rights for your book. Getting a free ISBN in exchange of a label that says “Lulu or Createspace is my publisher” is usually a normal practice. I did it before without any problems.

      • Ok, Thanks for getting back to me so quick.
        Rob

      • hi Dragos,
        I have an e-book available on itunes ibookstore through LULU; they made the epub and they take 20% of each sale. So I am currently uploading my ebook onto itunes myself so I get to keep more profit.

        But my question is can I use the same ISBN that Lulu has allocated to my ebook when I sell this myself on itunes? In fact, will itunes let me upload this as it’s already for sale with them but under Lulu?
        I know I have the option to click on ‘withdraw from sale’ on my Lulu dashboard so maybe I should click that before I send the ebook to itunes?
        What do you think?
        Thanks!
        Jason

        • I think you will need a new ISBN if you want to be the publisher of your own book. I think for the ISBN LULU gave to you, they are listed as the publisher.

  • I want to write a book on kindle. Actually I have already the printed version of that book with ISBN. I am in India. Can i write for both the kindle and smashword?

    • As far as I know, smashword may publish your ebook on kindle and iBookStore (and Barnes and Noble if I’m not wrong). The ISBN is a matter of identifying who is your publisher. On kindle you don’t need an ISBN, Amazon will assign an ASIN, their own internal notation. If I’d put an ISBN however, I would keep the editions separated, an ISBN for the printed edition and one for the Kindle edition and so on.

  • Melissa Pearl says: August 18, 2011 at 4:53 am

    This is fantastic! SO much information. You’re a legend.
    I am a kiwi too and am hoping to self-publish with kindle as a start. I’m assuming you own the rights to your work, therefore it is officially copyrighted to you. Meaning you don’t need to do anything else to protect your work.
    I was initially just going to publish with kindle, but now I’m wondering if I should publish with apple as well.
    I was a little confused about how the royalties work with being a New Zealander, but I take it from this information that once your royalties reach a certain amount, they will send you a cheque. Is that right?
    Thanks for taking the time to share all this info with us. Truly sensational :)

  • Melissa Pearl says: August 18, 2011 at 5:38 am

    That’s the other thing I wanted to ask…

    How did you decide on the prices for your e-books?

    Thanks

    • Well, that’s kinda tricky, but you should always look at the market. The niche you are writing for (is this fiction, non-fiction?) average number of pages, your personal brand, the value you put in the book, how much you would expect. Setting the price should take all these into account. Some of my ebooks have prices aroun 9.99 (non-fiction, productivity, very narrow niche, but good material) while others are in the 2.99 (non-fiction, self-improvement, able to make a mass sale).

      Hope this helps.

      And all the luck with your project!

  • Melissa Pearl says: August 18, 2011 at 10:14 am

    That’s great. Thanks for your help :)

  • I am in the early stages with CreateSpace, today I was told by one of their reps that I can not publish simultaneously to CS and Kindle. She said that CS paperback had to be out for 8-9 weeks prior to pushing it to ebook for Kindle.

    Any validity to this claim???

    I would like to publish both the ebook and paper at the same time.

    • I don’t know anything about that. As far as I’m concerned, you could publish your book on print and then via Kindle whenever you want.

      There might be a thing, though. When you publish on Kindle, they will ask you something about, “this ebook has a printed counterpart” or something like that. If you answer “yes” and give them the ASIN of the printed edition, they will link it more prominently in Amazon, showing that the Kindle edition is specifically the same book, only in Kindle. They may ask you to wait 8-9 weeks until your printed book will propagate on all their distribution channels and after that publish the kindle edition.

      Again, it’s just a guess.

  • Like many others I want to thank you for your information. This, by far, was the most helpful thing I read when I started this process. My goal is to publish free books. I have now successfully uploaded a book through iTunesProducer; and if you are correct, I will be waiting for two weeks to see if it is accepted. We’ll see. In the meantime I thought I’d check out Kindle and Pubit! (Nook). I built an account with Pubit! and all was going fine except they will not accept free books. Here is the email I wrote Pubit! yesterday, but have no response yet.

    “I am trying to submit a book to pubit! as a free publication. I note your policy is a List Price no greater than the eBook’s List Price at any other retailer, website, or sales channel. I also note your List Price for each eBook has to be between $0.99 and $199.00. I was able to do everything else successfully in your upload process (epub file, cover, bank info., etc.)

    “Here is my question.

    “I have already submitted the ebook to iBookstore as a free publication. I would like to submit it to pubit! as a free publication as well. How do I do that? It appears I cannot submit as $0.99 as I have already submitted it to iBookstore as a free publication. My intent is a free publication.

    “Please advise.”

    I looked at the Kindle process but realized I’d have the same problem. If you have any words of wisdom or others, I’m listening. Oh…also I’d rather not go through a 3rd party aggregator, like Smashwords. I think I could go through them and they would then distribute books free to many sources. Smashwords only accepts submissions in .doc and I have my files in epub, which they will not accept.

    Thank you, TR

    • Hmm, never used Pubit!. But as I see it, if they’re not offering a service for distributing free ebooks, you should go for the lowest price available. I don’t see any problem with that, as long as you put an explanatory text inside that edition, telling people that you wanted to make it free, but the delivery channel didn’t allow for that. Just my 2 cents.

  • Useful stuff Dragos. I’m looking at publishing from the UK, and I’ve already got a title up on Kindle. From what I can see, there is no way of publishing direct to iBookstore without a US tax number. You mentioned having to talk to your accountant – is this the only option? I don’t want to use a third party distributor, and I don’t want to set up a complex series of companies internationally. Apple appears to offer no way for me to publish direct without a tax number I cannot get. Have I missed something?

    • As far as I know you can get a tax number without setting up a company in US. You can have it just like a normal person. I chose to have a company tax number because of my specific setup, with the company I created in New Zealand and so on, but it doesn’t have to be like this for everybody.

      As for the necessity of a US tax number from Apple, I think we cannot get past that.

      • Trouble is, you can’t get a US tax number unless you live in the US. It’s utterly ludicrous in a global internet age, ludicrous. Apple are just getting more and more difficult to deal with.

        • You sure about that? I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that you can get an Individual Tax Number no matter where you live. If I would be you, I’d do a little bit of research on that…

          • I’m researching, but no luck so far. Takes a lot of time finding out where Apple hide the relevant information – not the most friendly or intuitive process I’ve ever gone through.

        • Martin, I live in the Cayman ISlands and got a US tax number just by phoning the tax office, the number was on the createspace site, took about 20 minutes (I am a UK Citizen)

  • As far as pubit! what I did was list it at 99 cents and let B&N use one of their ISBN, which I assume will make them the publisher. I also changed the title page and listed it as the nook edition. It all uploaded very easy; and as compared to Apple, they say they will get back to me in 24-72 hours. We’ll see. Thanks for your input.

  • @martin cloake you should search on the IRS site, not on Apple’s…

  • Hi Dragos,
    Thank you for your informative posts. I read through your entire article looking for the answer to my question and I don’t believe I’ve found it yet.

    I am a self-published author living in the US. I started a publishing company a year ago to launch my first title: Why He’s My Ex. It’s an 8×8 full color hardcover book. (A picture book about the moment he became Mr. Wrong.) I have an ISBN, A Barcode, A LCCN and even a QR code. I understand that I’ll need a new ISBN for each different version.

    I hold the copyright and I am the publisher.I have 1500 off set printed copies left to sell. I sell on the Why He’s My Ex site and on Etsy.com plus in several brick and mortar stores in the states.

    I would now like to release e-versions of the book. Can I do that without “publishing” on create space? I don’t want Amazon to be my publisher since I’m already the publisher. Can I sell ibooks, other e-books and still be the SOLE publisher of this title?

    If not, does that mean every time I offer the book on a new seller’s website using their book reader’s format that they are a co-publisher or additional publisher?

    I’d love your thoughts/feedback on this.

    Thank you!

    • As far as I know, for each edition of your book/ebook, you will need a new ISBN, because, well, it will be a new “version” of your product.

      If you already have an ISBN from Bowker, you will be the publisher. If you want to publish your ebook electronically, you can do it without CreateSpace (which is basically a print on demand service), going directly for Kindle. Go to http://kdp.amazon.com. In this case, you won’t need an ISBN, because Kindle uses their own internal classifying system, called ASIN and one will be assigned to your book automatically. If you want to publish with iBookStore, you will need a new ISBN, specifically for this digital edition.

      But even if you want to use CreateSpace and have a new, printed edition using their infrastructure, you can put your own ISBN. CreateSpace gives you an ISBN only if you don’t have one already. The book will be listed on Amazon and will be printed only on demand.

      Hope this helps.

  • Judith Littardi says: September 2, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Hi Martin,
    We are currently going through the same process at the moment but it’s a minefield. From what I can see you have to open an iTunes Connect account to publish with the iBookstore, and for this you need a US tax ID. For individuals this is called an ITIN (individual tax identification number). The application form for this is called the W7 and this can be downloaded from the IRS website. Once you’ve filled this in you’ll need to send this off with your passport to the IRS at the US embassy in London. You probably won’t want to do this so better to go and see them in person. Now I’ve already spoken to the IRS in the States and you also need a letter from what they call the withholding agent (i.e. the company in the Sates, e.g. Apple, that would be holding 30% of your revenue for US tax purposes), confirming that you are selling in the States through them. This needs an original ink signature. It doesn’t seem to be possible to get this letter through Apple, there is one to download from Amazon’s website if you are considering selling hard copy or eBooks for the Kindle, however the IRS won’t accept the letter they currently offer and I’ve been waiting for months for Amazon to get back to me with a solution. An alternative is to publish a smaller title through an iBookstore aggregator called Smashwords (I know you said you didn’t want to use a 3rd party), and they will issue you with the same letter after you have achieved $ 20.00 royalties. They will also withhold your royalties until you have your ITIN number (which you can then use to open your iTunes connect account), so that 30% US tax isn’t deducted automatically. We haven’t gone down this route yet but I know it works as I have been following a blog by an author called Stephanie Zia (well worth a look) and she has gone through exactly the same process and come out the other side. So good luck, hope you manage to get somewhere.

    • Yeap, I know everything you talk about. The simpler solution for me was to apply for a company tax number, the paperwork was way easier. Needless to say that a company will be very interesting from many other points of view, but it will also require a different degree of involvement. Coming from a 10 years history of being an entrepreneur this seemed easier for me, but I can understand it can be daunting for other people.

      Either way, your solution with Smashwords looks interesting, as long as they really move as fast as they promise. I tried them too and one of the books I wanted to put in the iBookStore with them is not yet there, even after 9 months. So, going entrepreneurial here seems like it will really speed up the things ;)

    • Thanks Judith, that’s interesting – and confirms my suspicions about the barriers that are still presented despite the hype about easy e-publishing. although this seems also to be a case of big organisations not recognising the world has changed. That said, the IRS may have an excuse – Apple and Amazon don’t. I’m currently going through the process of switching from sole trader to limited company, and my accountant is looking into permissions and paperwork. The system seems to be set up to drive business for aggregators – and I guess it’s a feature of capitalism that there is always more money to be made by the middle man. I’ve currently got a title up on Kindle that I published direct, and I’ve just put that same title up via Lulu to their marketplace and, if approved, via them to the iBookstore and Nook. From what I see of the process, I can add the tax numbers if it is ever possible to get one when the 21st century catches up with all parties. At the moment I’m just testing the water, but if I roll more titles out I’m going to need to do things a little differently. Thanks to both you and Dragos for some useful views and tips.

    • Oh, and I just didn’t like the look of Smashwords for a number of reasons – the reported delays in getting approval being just one. Different solutions suit different people.

  • Just trying to add my experience for those whom it might help. I uploaded to iTunesConnect and pubit! which is nook at Barnes & Noble. I got accepted at both places yesterday. It took iTunesConnect 4 days to respond and pubit! responded in two days.

    Next up I try to tackle kindle reader and use my epub files for that.

    Here’s a question I do have, though. My cover art was good for the Apple and Nook book, but it got lost when uploaded. By that I mean the tiny little thumbnail is there on the bookstore, but when you open the book, it starts on the title page. How can you get the cover art to open as the first page in the book anyone?

    Thanks,
    Theresa

    • I *think* there is an option on iTunesProducer called “Use first page as book cover”. You may want to play with that a bit. Just my 2 cents…

      I don’t want this on my ebooks. The cover is ok on the shelves but when the book opens I would like to open directly to the writing area, that’s what you should expect in real life anyway. So, from a usability point of view, I think they’re doing it right…

  • I unchecked use first page as book cover, because that’s the title page. I had hoped the cover would be the first page that way. I’ll try to find someone who can answer. If one could double click the cover and see it full size I would not mind, but one can’t do that. In my case it lost the art aspect of same. Thanks for your comment…as always, appreciated.

  • Hi, I still don’t have the answer I’m looking for. I already understand ISBN #s. I understand why you need one for each “version” of your book and that makes total sense. That’s not the issue. I DO NOT want a Print On Demand version of this book. It’s already printed beautifully using wonderful materials. Yes I have an ISBN from Bowker for this version. It’s in dozens of bookstores and gift stores in the US. It already exists for sale as a physical hard copy. http://www.whyhesmyex.com

    My confusion is only with the e-book process. I don’t want create space to be my publisher. I don’t want print on demand books since I have physical copies. I ONLY want to know if they (ibook, Amazon etc.) will ALSO be a “publisher” since I want to make an E-book available. I’m computer savvy enough to make my own versions. So can I just work with a software program that let’s me change file types and just upload the e-books I create and still be the publisher? Or do I HAVE to use createspace if I want to sell the E-book version on Amazon?

    I would now like to release e-versions of the book. Can I do that WITHOUT “publishing” on create space? I do want to sell on Amazon but I’d rather just make e-books on my own and upload them to Amazon. I don’t want Amazon to be my publisher since I’m already the publisher. Can I sell ibooks, other e-books and still be the SOLE publisher of this title?

    The big question is: Does this mean every time I offer the book on a new E seller’s website using their book reader’s format 1) Do I have to use their “publishing program/system” and 2) does that mean that they are a co-publisher or additional publisher?

    I don’t EVER want this particular book to be print on demand. It’s a coffee table picture book. POD does not suit this format. Some buyers have asked me if an E-book will be available and that is what I’m trying to sort out.

    Thanks again!

    • In this case, go at http://kip.amazon.com and create a Kindle version of your book, that version will be owned by you as a publisher, if you put your own ISBN. At iBookStore you can manually specify who is your publisher. Hope others can chip in with other publishing platforms. All the luck!

  • You are awesome! Thank you! This is the answer I was looking for.
    Cheers!

  • Great information! I’ve been researching Kindle books as an option and I have a question that I cannot seem to find an answer for. I have already published a novel with a traditional publisher. I’m interested in re-releasing it as a Kindle book (I own the rights), but I can’t seem to find any info that says that Amazon can do this. I don’t have the original electronic manuscript. Can Amazon take a hard copy and convert it to a Kindle book?

  • Dear dragos,
    I have published three books on kindle.
    One is on a science topic entitled “The concepts of laser”. Another is a biography “History of fasts of Anna hazare” and the last is “easy practice to become positive thinker”. Can I promote this books here and how?

    • What do you mean by that?

      • I want to promote my books or cross promotion.
        One more thing, if I i want to change the royalty option. If i do it, then book will republish or not?

        • I don’t have any idea about how you could do this here, but I’m open to suggestions. As for the royalty change, I don’t think the book will republish, it will just take some time until the price change propagates.

  • Dragos, you are the man…
    I have my book Agony published earlier this year by bad, bad publisher. The contract we signed is broken so many times that I don’t care anymore, but in that piece of paper there are not a SINGLE word regarding to e-book rights. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Agony-Vladimir-Mirosavljevic/dp/1616671572 has ISBN. Is there any way that I can sell my novel as copy write owner for e-book?
    Thank for all the help…

    • I’m not on a very solid ground here, as I’m not a lawyer. I think you should talk to an intellectual property lawyer, show him the contract and see how far can you go. I don’t want to give advice in areas where I’m not qualified to. :)

      • Thanks Dragos,
        It’s a tricky and sensitive area, you are so right, again. I think I will have to wait for expiration date.
        Best wishes from Serbia,
        Vladimir

  • Hi Dragos,
    How much you paid to make it appear on Amazon . com site ? is there a subscription that I need to pay monthly or something ?

    I have printed physical books on my own..and I wantthem to appear on amazon so folks can order….
    any thoughts ?

    -V

    • You don’t have to pay any upfront costs to appear on Amazon. Please read above the section about CreateSpace.com, this is what I used to make my book appear on Amazon. CreateSpace, which is owned by Amazon, is a print on demand business. Meaning your book will only be printed if there are actual requests for it. It will be kinda useless to repeat in the comment what is already in the post, so go ahead and read the section on CreateSpace and if you still have questions after that, shoot.

  • Dragos are you saying that there are no initial up-front cost required to publish with Amazon CreateSpace and have your title sitting there available for orders?? I understand its about $6,000 to cover the usual pre-publishing editing, formatting, proof reading, cover design etc normally, but in this case with CreateSpace, can the pre-publishing be done through Amazon as an option? Perhaps you are suggesting that you can use their templates to literally upload your book into, then upload it onto their site, then once its sold, they divide up the profits accordingly???

    • Yeap, pretty much this is what I’m saying. Formatting your book or cover can be done by yourself, I don’t see why you should pay $6000 for that. There is no upfront cost for having your book published with CreateSpace.

  • Great article, thank you. Here’s something I need answered – if possible. If you upload a Kindle book does that mean Amazon only own digital rights to that book? In other words, can I then submit that same book to publishers if I want it printed – knowing the publisher won’t have digital rights but they can publish in print form? Thanks heaps!

  • One more question – can you upload a book if you live in NZ? No problems with tax or ISBNs? Thanks!

  • Just last night my first ebook was accepted by Amazon/Kindle, as it had been accepted earlier in the month by Apple and Nook. I wanted to summarize my experience of the last three weeks hoping I could put something back into this discussion because I’ve certainly gotten a lot from those of you above. Thank you.

    I downloaded Pages ’09 on my Mac on Aug. 15, and on Aug. 18 I found this article. I was off and running. My intention was to make a free book that are personal memoirs of myself and my brother growing up on Rt. 66 in its heyday. I decided to go for the iBookstore platform first and started learning pages and did a successful upload of my book to my computer and then to my iPad on Aug. 17. What next? I purchased 10 ISBN numbers on Aug. 20 and tried to apply to iTunesConnect. On Aug. 22 my Mac was off to the regional hospital for Macs for several days and I worked on my second Mac in the house to get material prepared. On Aug. 25 I signed contract with Apple and downloaded iTunesProducer and got my Mac back. Good! On Aug. 27 I realized the title page would not be a good cover for my book so had a friend make a good cover art. Uploaded epub file and cover art to Apple on August 28, and on Sept. 1 (4 days later) heard from Apple that it was on iBookstore.

    While I was waiting to hear from Apple I decided to go for the nook, Barnes & Noble, pubit! platform. I set up an account with them on August 29, but found out I could not have a free book. Pondered same and decided to go for the $.99. I decided not to use a second ISBN number for this nook edition (perhaps that was an error, we’ll see). I uploaded to pubit! on Aug. 30 and they uploaded book on Sept. 1 (2 days later) as well. So by the end of Sept. 1, I had both iBookstore and pubit! as platforms for the book.

    On Sept. 3 I uploaded epub files and the cover art to kindle and used another ISBN number. This Q&A on Bowker helped me decide that.

    ****

    “Q. if my e-books are being supplied by a retailer that is the sole provider of e-books in a proprietary format that can only be bought it’s own website (Amazon kindle, Apple iBookstore) and that retailer does not require ISBNs, should I assign ISBN to those versions.

    “A. It is not necessary to do so, unless it is useful for your own purposes or you want that version to be listed in third-party databases of available e-books. However, since these platforms are generally not interoperable, if you do assign ISBNs, make sure that they are unique to each version to avoid problems if those versions should later become available through third parties.”

    ****

    I waited 6 days on kindle to hear if they were accepting my upload and then discovered that being in ‘draft’ mode is not ‘review’ or ‘publish.’ I wasted a week because I had not pushed one more button on the kindle format. So be forewarned. After I did it correctly, it was accepted in 27 hours.

    On Sept. 10 I learned that it went ‘live’ on kindle.

    So at this point, Sept. 11, 2011, I have had 62 downloads on Apple since Sept. 1 and 3 on nook and 1 on kindle, the latter is myself. I downloaded on the kindle app on my iPad. By far it looks the best on my iPad through Apple. The other two are acceptable, but not as good as what is in the iBookstore.

    If you want the free download for the book on the iBookstore, go to your iPad or iPhone and look up:

    Growing Up on Rt. 66: Farm Life Outside Rt. 66 by Theresa Ripley and Raymond Ripley

    And again thanks to all for your help. And now I’m ready to start a second project.

    • That’s one amazing journey, Karen! Thanks for sharing it. It’s in these moments, you know… in moments like this, when I truly find joy with this blog. When I see people really going for what they want, and doing it, and being happy about it. Wishing you all the best with your second project. Feel free to keep us posted. Either here, or on the forums (just opened).

  • One of my web design clients had me design a site that promotes her new book (glassboxbook.com), and she asked me to help with e-publishing. This is by far the best information I’ve found.

    Thank you, Dragos, for a comprehensive review of this process. I might just purchase a couple of your books to show my gratitude! ;-)

  • I think you were writing a note to me when you said Karen, then again maybe not. What forums are you mentioning. Lead me there.

  • OK, just looked at the forums, but I don’t see one set up for those trying to self publish ebooks. Are you going to start such a forum. If so, I’ll be there, or point me in the direction that is the one most appropriate for that type of discussion.

  • OK, I’ve just posted as a guest and will see how this goes when others join. Thanks for spearheading this effort. By the way, I’ve visited New Zealand twice, which is neither here nor there, but at least it is fact.

  • Hey :)
    Setting up the forum was a great idea. I can’t wait to add my story to it when I self-publish in a month or so. I’m planning on uploading at the end of October.

    One question for you… and who ever else might be able to answer.

    Has anyone looked at self-publishing through Smashwords?

    I know they give out free ISBN #s. I was wondering whether it’s worth publishing through them first then also publishing through Kindle. I know you suggested using separate ISBN #s for different publishing avenues. I’m assuming you mean that if I publish with Smashwords, I should then get a different ISBN to publish through Kindle?

    I read through the Smashwords contract – if looks really good – the parts I understood anyway :)

    I think it’s an avenue for publishing to ibook as well and it had some info on tax issues too.

    I was just wondering if anyone has had any experience with it and what they thought.

  • Personally, I didn’t want to go Smashwords as they only accept .doc manuscripts and I made all this effort to go to Pages ’09 and be able to do direct epub files.

  • I have selected the price of my book as $ 2.99 but when I checked it on kindle store then the price is $ 4.99. Why the price difference of $ 2? It will definitely effect the sale of the book.

    • Sometimes, in certain territories, Amazon adds some local taxes. Happened to me before. I don’t think you can control the price in all the territories as granulary as you’d want to. Do some trials until you’re satisfied with the results.

  • Hi there – thanks for this very informative post… (My children’s book, The Secret Lake, has recently launched in Kindle format (as well as POD via CreateSpace in the USA and via Lightening Source in the UK) and I’m shortly going to be uploading my ePub file to the different stores so very useful to get an overview – my next mission was/is to get my head around all of this…

    But the reason for my post here is to understand something on pricing – you say that there can’t be more than a 30% price difference between Amazon Kindle version and print version of the same book. Where did you find that info? I’d not seen it before.

    Also – not sure if you will be able to answer this – my POD version of The Secret Lake is priced at $7.99 on Amazon.com via CreateSpace and at £4.99 on Amazon.co.uk via Lightening Source UK. They both have the same ISBN (which is allowed, because I did not opt for CS’s Extended Distribution Channel). Which version would the 30% Kindle price difference pertain to – the US one presumably??

    Many thanks! Karen Inglis

    • The 30% difference was present when I tried to publish on Kinde a few weeks ago, didn’t check out lately to see if it’s still in place. I also think this difference pertain only to titles on the Amazon ecosystem (not on other publishers, that is).

  • I’m still a bit confused about how to enable pre-ordering on Amazon. If the book isn’t available yet, isn’t uploaded or submitted, how (if it’s possible) does one set it up for pre-ordering? If the book is already submitted, then I’d think there’s no “pre” necessary….

  • Hello Dragos,this is a wonderful blog, I have found so many useful information!!! Thank you!

    I am an Iphone app developer and I wanted to turn my lifestyle app material into eBooks. After my research and after reading your blogs I had 2 questions:

    1. Can I simultaneously work with Smashwords, Amazon, B&N and iBook? Because as I read through Smashwords style guide, it stated that Smashword will distribute to iBook, Amazon and B&N, so I was wondering if I published with Smashword, can I or should I also publish with Amazon, iBook and B&N?

    2. Assuming I don’t really think that Smashwords will distribute my eBook to all other eBook platforms, so to make sure my eBook also gets published on other important platforms I wanted to publish with Smashwords, Amazon, iBook and B&N all at same time. For the same eBook, should I use different ISBN and also different book title for different platforms?

    Please help, thank you!

    Jay

    • If I were you, I will choose to work directly with all these publishers. The logistic expenses are not so high (there are only a handful of them, it’s not like you have to manage 20-30 publishers at the same time) and I can control the whole process easier.

      On Amazon ebooks you don’t need ISBN, they have their ASIN, you will only need one on CreateSpace. But even there you can come up with your own. For the other publisher, I would suggest to use a different ISBN only if the edition published is significantly different. For instance, I chose to have different ISBN’s for printed editions and for iBook editions, because there are different covers. So, basically, it’s a new edition, so it needs a new ISBN.

      Hope this helps.

  • Just a brief report on a second ebook publishing experience. I made a second ebook which was originally written in 1984 by my husband, and I held the copyright on that self-published book. So, I put it up on 3 platforms: nook, kindle, and Apple. Again, I was trying to make them free, but can’t do that on nook or kindle so it was $.99. Within 24 hours it was available on both the kindle and nook platforms. Apple, this time as contrasted to last time only taking 4 days, took a full two weeks to get on all 6 stores and it is a free download. At least now I understand that I have worldwide rights.

    I used a different ISBN number for each platform: nook, kindle, and Apple and before I do a third book, I’d like to understand if that is needed. Bowker leads me to believe yes, but I note Dragos thinks otherwise. I’d love more discussion on this if others have experiences and opinions.

    I’m ready to start my 3rd ebook which will take much more time to get ready, and it will use as its base the letters my uncle wrote in WWII in Germany in the POW camp made famous by the movie The Great Escape.

    Oh…my first book, published Sept. 1, 2011, had 118 downloads in September. Surprised me.

    Thanks to all for contributed to this post.

    • congrats for the downloads, those numbers are looking good. Tweeted this comment and hopefully others will chip in with their experiences. All the luck with your third ebook.

  • I just thought through why Apple probably took a full two weeks this time. Last time I said I only had U.S. rights, this time worldwide, probably took longer with the additional countries added. That still does not say why kindle can do it so fast in 3 markets, but perhaps that is just where Apple is. By the way, I think nook is going to be able to distribute worldwide soon. Anyone else heard that?

  • Thanks Dragos for your helpful reply! Appreciated!

  • Hi Dragos,

    Thanks a lot for the documented work. It seems simpler for me now that you made and described all the way.

    God Bless,
    i

  • Noelani Terry says: October 6, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Thank you for breaking this up to easily understood pieces. Looking to take the world by storm!

  • If you just want your book on Amazon Kindle. Once you’ve got it in the right uploadable format is there any reason to use createspace or another outside vendor?

    Thanks

  • you all seem to jumble the calibre seems quite helpful for conversion but it needs more editing and formatting i came to know when i ordered my book through http://www.ebookconversion.com/

  • 2 Quick Q’s Dragos. Just found your site looking for info on Apple Connect approval times. Nice post man…

    - Do you know how long they take to accept/approve applications for connect? The whole process like everything Apple is covered in secrecy and even post form-submission, absolutely nothing about what I should do next. You have to be pretty dedicated to publish directly on the iBookstore.

    - Also is the iTunes producer app you mention still available or have they replaced this with Apple Connect?

    For guys reading this interested in publishing on iBookstore; to publish your ePub you sign up at Apple Connect and here you have to provide a US tax ID or EID (Employer Identification Number). I’m in the UK so I had to phone up (1 hour wait on the phone) no less to get my EIN.

    Here are some FAQ’s: http://www.apple.com/itunes/content-providers/book-faq.html

    Also be aware that you can choose to use an Apple Aggregator as an alternative. The list includes Lulu and Smashwords, more on the url above.

    Like you Dragos I’ve published my first book on CreateSpace and kindle, i also published in paper on Lulu, plus ePub and PDF and on Barnes & Noble through Lulu with the ePub.

    Just as a refresher for your readers Lulu and Smashwords are an aggregator for Apple and Barnes & Noble so you can get your ePub onto iBookstore and B&N this way. I did the B&N option through Lulu as mentioned above as I had a clean ePub file heavily formatted,that Smashwords would have messed up in their meatgrinder conversion tool. Smashwords only accept Word docs and convert to ePub, PDF and a few more formats.

    Don;t forget Kindle accepts .mobi and PDF, but Kindlestore only accepts .mobi format.

    So agree with the theme of the post that self-publishing is not easy, its painful at times. And once the book is finally published you then have to market the thing using Amazon Author Central amongst other options.

    So many options, yet such a lack of information simplified online. Only the dedicated and determined will publish on all formats. My advice start with .mobi for Kindle, then ePub for iBooks and then if you want to, go for paper with CreateSpace to get on Amazon.com! Lulu? The jury is still out for me on Lulu.

    All the best
    Ian

  • As far as the above question for myself, I applied for iTunesConnect on a Saturday and by the following Thursday I had a PDF file contract and then set up the appropriate information and it was all accepted later that day and was notified that I had contracts in effect.

  • Dragos, thanks for writing a detailed article with deep insights into the self publishing process, business model, market scenario, etc. I have been pushing back my publishing ideas for quite some time; planning to restart it now and that’s how I landed on this page. While reading the article and the comments afterward, I wonder why so many people ask the same questions again and again, though the questioned are answered in the article body or in one of the comments / reply to the comments. If the aspiring authors have the patience to read the contents in entirety, and re-read if necessary, several questions need not be repeated. I understand that the consumers are in a hurry and want fast service. But the authors should be much more diligent and comprehend what they read before they ask pointed questions. Again, thanks for your patient and repeated answers.

  • Thanks Theresa, sounds good to me!

    Paddu (AKA blog police). The more responses Dragos’ post gets, the better for SEO, i.e. top rankings in Google. UGC (User Generated Content) = visitors comments are the lifeblood of the net in 2011. The more comments the better.

  • I just wanted to say thanks, that was an excellent, comprehensive and clear guide to epublishing. Thanks so much for going to the trouble, I’ve found it hugely helpful.

    Cheers!

  • Hey, thanks for the tips. I had already published my first book (Legends Lost Amborese) through Createspace, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble’s Pubit. But I was looking for help on publishing through Apple’siBookstore. Thanks for the tips.

  • I read everything above. And i must say THANK YOU SO MUCH! I learned everything i need to know, but one thing. I am not sure, maybe i missed it.

    Can i publish a book in a non-english language with kindgle,ibook etc. I saw that it can be few other languages like portugese, spanish, italian german.

    But i can publish it in Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin (all same languges but people just like to call them their own) ? Can my book be in cyrilc alphabet or it has to be in latin?

    PLEASE HELP ME! :) Thank you so much!

  • AWESOME!

    Thank you so, so, so much. You have saved me probably a months (160 hours) worth of work and research. Yes, I will definitely buy your books. (As soon as I get some royalties streaming in of my own.)

    I hope this coment helps your “hit count” as well since had your blog not come come up in the first page of search results I probably wouldn’t have found it.

    And yes, many of these posts ask questions which are already fully explained in the body of the article. Come on people!

  • I have just come across this blog, as I look for ways of distributing my first children’s book, which I am still writing and illustrating. Dragos, the amount of help you have provided here is enormous. I can’t wait, in the future, to get back to you and let you know how things are advancing!

  • What is the web site/e mail address for UK authors wishing to publish books via Amazon? (UK prices etc) Thanks Bob

  • great blog and congrats for your books they look very cool!
    i wish to self publish an E-Book of art photography so all colored pictures and sell it on amazon and apple I-bookstore.
    where do i find the program that allows me to create a colored pictures E-Book on my MAC that can be directly sold on amazon and apple ibookstore?
    Many Thanks!

  • brian mulhare says: October 31, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    excellent article…thanks !

  • Dragos,

    Wonderful article. I have just released my first children’s book, Salty Summer from the Nautical Mile Series. My book went thru Tate Publishing. I just downloaded the book to Kindle as an ebook. Rather than ‘print’ the other 3 books in the series at this time, I also downloaded them as a ebook to Kindle. Kindle was way easier and faster than going thru print which took about a year. Yes, it really did take that long, where as Kindle took 3 days!

    You said earlier that you might cover marketing strategies. That is where I need help. With no money and just a few ideas, I was wondering if you had any marketing suggestions – such as sites that advertise for free or for just a few bucks. I have a couple of blogs set up, nauticalmileseries.blogspot.com is one of them … I have reached out to about a 1,000 schools and individuals but beyond that I’m not sure how to create a buzz. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Many Thanks, Donna

  • Drago:

    Many thanks for such a detailed article. I”m actually in the process of converting my ebook to Kindle/IBooks/Nook and it was helpful to understand the registration process for these books. You’ve made a confusing process crystal clear!

    Hope to have my new ebook, “How To Supervise: What Your Boss Never Told You Before You Took The Job” on ereaders soon thanks to your insights.

  • Hello Dianne, I was just reading your comment. I am this very moment trying to figure out how to convert books to ebooks. Would you care to share that info? It’s very confusing when just starting out.

  • Hi Barbara:

    I’m of the school of thought where I find people who are the experts to do what I don’t know how to do or that I don’t want to learn how to do.

    I actually hired someone from Elance.com to do this for me. I haven’t received the converted books yet as the due date is tomorrow. I provided the pdf and he will take care of the rest including all of the images and photos as well as audio links that I have embedded in the current pdf version of the ebook.

    The person hired has good references and I was able to view samples, so my expectation is that the quality will be good.

    I’m not in my office, but I’d be happy to share the person’s Elance link if you are interested later this evening.

  • Hi Barbara:

    I wanted to check the final product before sharing this recommendation. I used the company Atritex and they can be found on Elance.com. They did a great job!

    Dianne

  • Thank you so much for this topic, Dragos.

    It is fun to read the experiences of others who are dealing with the self-publishing intricacies.

  • Hi Dragos
    I’ve read through the article and following thread a number of times and made notes. I’m almost ready to publish my first e-book / ODP book. I’ve previously had a short story published by a traditional publisher in a compilation.
    My book is a travel book (cycling) and would benefit from some colour photos so both Kindle and the Smashwords route to the i-Bookstore look bad. Is there another easy way to get a book onto the i-Bookstore or i-TunesConnect??
    Cheers
    Mark

  • 2 Options Mark:

    1. iTunes Connect.

    2. iTunes Connect Aggregator such as Smashwords, Lulu, FastPencil.

  • Thanks Daniel

    I presume the disadvantage of going straight to iTunes Connect myself is the IRS Tax certificate issue?

    Superb information. Many thanks.

  • It is Mark, that’s the only resistance to using iTunes Connect direct as opposed to an aggregator when not based in the US. But its worth using Coonect…

    I’m in the UK and I phoned up the IRS ‘non US resident’ phone number: 00 1 267-941-1099 and set up an EIN = Employer Identification Number. That’s all Apple needed because I was in the UK, job done.

    Apparently the IRS are open until 11pm Eastern time which if you are in the UK is + 5 hours so UK time 4am close. I phoned at approx 11pm UK time and was waiting for a good 1.5 hours in the que. No kidding. The girl who answered recommended that the best time to call is later, so I’d say phone closer to 11pm Eastern time US.

    Some things to be aware of about iTunes Connect and the iBookstore:

    - You need a Mac machine to use the iTunes Producer tool/software to upload and submit your titles to the iBookstore. A PC is no good, nor is an iPad at this time. Note sure about a MacBook. Luckily I do some consulting at a web agency so I used theirs.

    - You can log in to iTunes Connect (browser based management area) on your PC, no problems. This is where you can edit the price and countries/stores your title is listed on and view (only) your meta data. You also see your sales data here plus some other bits. But to upload any key info the producer tool is required on a mac machine.

    - When I submitted my first title I 100% selected for it to go on all 32 iBookstores. I even took a screenshot of my settings. 2 weeks post submission I found out it was live on the US iBookstore only but no others, so even though I knew and had the screenshot to show I’d selected global, it hadn’t worked. Apple were adamant that I’d selected US only. So a good 2 hours later using the iTunes Connect I’d added it to the missing 31 iBookstores. Its easy to do this, just follow the PDF you get when you sign up.

    So something to be aware of, you may need to manually add to more than 1 store once its live. Again, use the iTunes Connect to check its status and availability.

    In my experience Apple never do anything logically or simply even though they claim they do. Its a myth.

  • Daniel
    The quality of your reply just blows me away!
    If it wasn’t for your advice I’d probably waste my money going with an agregator and end up with something that looks poor after ‘mincing!’
    You’ve certainly take most of the worry out of it for me.
    Eternally grateful
    Thanks
    Mark

  • NP. With a direct account with iTunes Connect I was able to keep my stunning formatting, with Smashwords like their software “MeatGrinder” suggests they completely mince it up. Incidentally I put my title on Smashwords as well to get it on a few of the lesser known eBook sites that they aggregate for (not B&N, iBookstore, Kobo – I’ve gone direct with those bar B&N that I used Lulu as the aggregator) and the title now on Smashwords is essentially just a basic Word doc, my formatting is all gone.

    With Lulu and B&N still after about 8 weeks my title is not live on B&N, still pending. Being in the UK you can’t go direct as such, you have to be a US citizen to use B&N.

    Publishing is a minefield, loaded with pretentious publishers, aggressive distributors and totally inept systems for publishing ebooks. Be prepared to stress – a lot. Don’t even get me started on Google Books > eBooks. 55 emails back and forth to get 1 ePub live. 3 weeks!

  • Hi Ian (got your name the right way around this time!)

    Thanks for the warning. I think I might go the simpler Kindle only route then perhaps Amazon (CreateSpace) route and add the others after. Alternatively go direct with Kindle then Lulu (if they don’t mess up your formatting??) so that it gets punted out to virtually everyone, particularly iBookstore which seems to be the hardest nut (fruit) to crack.

    Once I’ve done one, I can try the direct route next time maybe. Just a bit worried about causing myself a load of stress and being put off altogether.

    Thanks again for your excellent info
    Mark

  • When I wrote my first book it was essentially the last 10 years of my life being involved with e-commerce. That’s what I did for 10 years, building, running and then selling e-commerce businesses. The book was never going to make me tons of money and I knew that, but I did it for reasons 1) document my experiences. 2) learn how to write and publish so I can then produce more books. I wrote in Word, then converted to Indesign, then to PDF and published this in print on CreateSpace and Lulu. I didn’t need to do Lulu this was a total waste of my time.

    I then converted to .mobi (Kindle) for on the Kindlestore and then to ePub for all the other eBook sites/companies including Apple, Google, Kobo, Lulu (B&N), Smashwords, etc.

    I had no idea the time it would take and the inept submission models currently available for each site. Each one with its own ‘issues’. Most companies have been overwhelmed by the demand for eBooks.

    So for my next few books currently in writing I’m doing this:

    Write in Word using simple formatting > Convert to .mobi and then convert to ePub. I’ll then publish on Kindle first. Then I’ll publish on CreateSpace in print. Then its ePub and all the rest as mentioned above.

    Incidentally my paper books is outselling my Kindle book 3/1 this month, last month it was the reverse. There may be various reasons for that.

    • Hi Ian
      Funny you should say that. I have just been sitting thinking about it. I am semi-retired at 53 (Company Director of a company that I now just oversee). I’ve been looking for something else to do. Writing the cycling book is a first step into proper writing but I’ve already had a short story published by a traditional publisher.

      It occurs to me that rather than just publish my own book, I could go the more professional / entrepreneurial route and set up a publishing company. Publish my first book then look at doing more and maybe publishing other people’s. I can certainly see it being a big growth business area.

      I used to work for an Apple dealer years ago and knew all about DTP, Photoshopping etc so have some useful knowledge. Am I nuts?

  • Hi Ian

    Have been mulling over all my collected information – the best of which I received from you. Thanks so much.

    I’ve also checked out about buying ISBNs in the UK (www.isbn.nielsenbook.co.uk) and have been reading about viral marketing (try googling ‘go the fuck to sleep’. About a book idea that accidentally went viral and topped the Amazon bestseller chart).

    On balance it seems to me that using a publishing method that allows me to set my own price (within reason) is most important to me.

    I wonder if you can summarise which PODs / e-book distributors etc allow you to set your own price?

    Thanks

  • Yeah I bought 10 x ISBN’s from Nielsen. If you buy from Nielsen, make sure to sign up for their free PubWeb service (syncs your data via a feed to the bookstores, websites like Waterstones, etc). You can also pay for an Enhanced listing (150 + VAT per annum min per year, essentially £15 per book, but min £150) which gets you more fields, to submit more detailed info.

    All POD’s and eBook sellers allow you to set the price. But some inc. CreateSpace (owned by Amazon.com) can and will change your price. Amazon tend to reduce their price below other bookstores they track, one being TheBookDepository.

    Its a tricky one really as you have to read the T&C’s to find this info, this will take a while! I know for sure my paper book price fluctuates with Amazon.com and once you are on Nielsen and Bowkers and then as a result the bookstores and websites like The Book Depository they can do what they want with the price- I think. Please check. I POD’d with CreateSpace and paid for the Expanded Distribution Channel service. Incidentally Lightning Source actually provide Amazon with this EDC.

    Confused? You will be, it took me months of research to learn what I know. Get on CreateSpace and Kindle forums and have a read.

    • Hi Ian
      Thanks again for great info.

      I presume you found CreateSpace expanded distribution chanel worthwhile. Seems to me that at least for my first book, it is worth seeing which chanels work best even if it means losing a few pounds in royalties.

      You said before that you felt that it was not worthwhile your having used Lulu as well as CreateSpace. However, I notice that with Lulu you get put on the i-bookstore and Barnes & Noble store which I presume you don’t with CreateSpace. Does this not make it worthwhile?
      I know once you’ve got an IRS Cert you can go direct to i-bookstore but I think you said that you can’t so this with B&N unless you live in the USA. Is that correct?

    • Hi Ian
      Yesterday I had an email from Create space saying they had encountered a problem with my ISBN number not being verified. I also bought mine from Nielson. The verification process goes through Bowker.com in the US. I phoned Bowker.co.uk, they couldn’t understand why, but have now linked me on their site through my Nielsen’s numbers. Wondered if you had experienced anything similar?

      • I haven’t heard of this Diana but I can confirm that your publisher name on CS must match that of which Nielsen hold.

        Diana how did you get 55% on Advantage, I’m on 60% and it stings!

  • Hey Mark,

    Yeah CS EDC is good, but only covers US and obviously does the main one – Amazon.com. For UK Amazon to get the book as showing as “In Stock” you need to use their Advantage program or as a Marketplace Seller do the FBA (Fulfilment By Amazon) – ship your books to them so they are actually “In Stock”. Alternative to CS is LSI. If you were to go direct and publish with LSI (Lightning Source Int.) I believe they provide International EDC coverage and not just US that they provide CS with, LSI are owned by Ingram. I’ll have to check the worldwide coverage though as I’m not 100%. I’ve recently set up an LSI account so I can POD with both CS and LSI to maximise the exposure but if you do that you have to be careful so the EDC is not run on both POD’s and will clash. Its something I’m looking into and working on as I want my next book in front of as many eyeballs as I can as fast as I can.

    You can create a Lulu account and just use them as B&N and Apple aggregators. Like I said above my B&N submission is still pending after 8 weeks. That’s pathetic. So I’m glad that I went direct with Apple but as you know with B&N direct its US residents only at this time. There are others that do the B&N like Smashwords but their meatgrinder software strips your formatting. I didn’t want that so went with Lulu. With the full formatting intact (using tables and lists) it looks stunning on the iPad. If you have the stamina get the EIN from the IRS, its not that hard, just a lengthy phone call (read my post above again) how to and when to. But remember Mac required with Apple submissions.

    Cheers

  • Hello, great article. I am interested in publishing a travel blog to the iBookstore but wondering what is the market for iBooks? How much do you make a month off one book? I don’t want to go through all the trouble of formatting and publishing a book if it’s going to make $5/mo.

    Also, is there a “free-mium” model in the iBookstore? Can I distribute a free, ad-supported book and charge users $2.99 to remove the ads.

    Also also, where’s the biggest market for ebooks right now – Kindle, Nook, or iOS?

    Thanks!!

  • Dear Dragos,

    I just wanted to thank you for your helpful article on self-publishing. I am a poet who has been published in Ireland and the UK, but no collection yet.

    So I thought I might take the initiative as well as being able to control the editorial, by publishing my 1st collection.

    Sincerely,
    Kate

  • Just want to add my thanks to you, Dragos, along with all the others. I think you and everybody else just saved me and others a mint of time. At the moment I’m just struggling with the Amazon chewing-gum speak. Bless ‘em, in the effort to make it all as plain as they can they make it more complicated than it should be. No doubt I’ll get into further problems as I venture into the other sites mentioned above.

    My current problem is that my book was made in inDesign, then thrown into PDF for publishing. This has worked. See
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Person-Am-Literary-Memoirs-Jackson/dp/1842331434/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322152331&sr=1-4

    But translating either of these (inDesign or PDF) into a kindle seems to make for problems. All the formatting goes awry. Any answers?

    Best,

    Mark

    • I use Apple’s Pages to format the ebooks into ePub. For Kindle, I used a very barebone PDF version, uploaded, and then let it take care of it.

      Generally speaking, I wouldn’t rely too much on formatting when it comes to ebooks, the simplest formatting design that you may get, the better. There isn’t a lot of integration across devices so your book may look very differently on a Nook compared to a Kindle or an iPad with iBooks. So the advice is to get rid of all the unnecessary formatting. Of course, if you can do that, as I understand that there may be a lot of cases when you can’t.

      • Thanks so much Dragos. I’ll go the PDF way for now and see what Amazon makes of that.

        They advise unformatted text, I know, at least rich text format and they say even better just simple text. The problem there is that Save As in Acrobat, unless I’m missing something, completely screws up any formatting in both Word doc and RTF so be warned, and I don’t have the original Word document (haven’t tried .txt yet because I know that will mean re-casting 600 pages of spacing, chapter headings, etc and I’ve done enough already). The problem is the formatting in my book is very important so I have to tread carefully. Back to the computer yet again…..

        You would think Amazon, Apple and everyone else could accept inDesign but so far as I can see they’re either not up to speed on this or they find it doesn’t work, unless you know something more, or somebody else does. I’ll try your method of sending a PDF first and see what they make of that. Then I’ll try Pages and see how I get on with iBooks.

        Thanks again to you but also to everybody else on this forum – everyone seems so cheerful and helpful.

        • Hm, sorry – I just realised Kindle offers an inDesign plug-in. Maybe other ebook readers do too? Anyhow, it converts inDesign to Acrobat pdf and then puts it into your PC Kindle preview application. It messes up some of the settings though, so I have to go figure.

  • Dear Deagos,
    Thank you so much for your time and effort!
    The article is brilliant!
    I appresiate your work and I wish to you to have a big success as anauthor!
    best,
    Polly

  • Oooo sorry!
    I’m writing only on the light of the screen and I made some mistakes :(
    Dragos!
    :)

  • Hi Deagos, and others,
    I’ve learned a great deal. Thanks. One question. I have two books at the printer. one adult fiction, one children’s book. 1,000 copies each. My plan is to use the print editions to help promote the digital editions. I am also the publisher. My question is, can I also sell the hard copies on Amazon? Will they stock my books, or will I be treated like a print-on-demand provider?
    Best of luck to all,
    Teddy

    • You don’t say whether you have launched your ebooks already, but |I’m not sure it makes a difference.

      To put your printed books up on Amazon, you have to go to ‘Amazon Advantage’ (google it) and sign up. They will need your bank details plus your banks international code number – you can ask them if you don’t know it – plus your email address, set up a password etc., home address, ISBN numbers, and declare yourself as either the publisher or the author or both. After slightly more than a week they will email you to declare you successful or not and invire you to send the PDF of your book. A week later they will ask for the covers plus any description you care to give. Within three or so days your book will appear.

      They will then ask you to send a hard copy. After that, they ask on demand, so that if or when (!) they get an order they will email you to send them a further copy (or more, if you’re lucky) which you have to confirm and have it with them within one week. They will give you a print-out of the address to send to and a packing slip. Books must also be carefully wrapped to avoid any damage.

      I’ll leave it at that because it does get rather complicated. You can go on then to get your ebook onto Kindle, etc., and the ‘Look Inside’ bit.

      It takes time to get your head round it all but it works. Also, of course it costs…

      Best of luck,

      Mark

  • Thanks Mark,
    That clears up lots, but you’re right. Heaps to get my head around. And no, I haven’t got my ebooks out there yet. Wanted to have hard copies in hand first, but now it looks like it’ll take longer than I imagined to get them listed.
    And thanks to all who posted. I’ve learned so much.
    Teddy

  • Teddy, go the Kindle route first that’s where most of the action is and its easier to format and publish plus you’ll quickly get a feel for the sales potential. Trust me!

  • Hi Deagos /Ian,

    This threads the most interesting thing on the internet regarding eBooks. Ian, your comments on EIN numbers have been a bit of a lifesaver. One thing which I can’t suss out is if I need to be a legal company in the UK to get an EIN number? I suppose, also, if your actually better off setting up a company to do that and the ISBN purchasing stuff as well? Did you do it as yourself or as a company?

    Many thanks for a great article and comment thread
    Luke

  • Hi Luke/readers,

    Some more hot tips here… remember me when you’re minted!

    Company not required, just say you are an Individual. But I will say this, because I’m a self publisher and you’ll find ‘Publisher Name’ as a mandatory field on some ebook set up forms then pick a publisher / company name for this purpose.

    If you are concerned about not declaring earnings, with regards paying tax on profits earned from your ebook sales in the UK you’ll need to check but I think off memory any earnings under £8K-ish are not taxable. I’d worry about this later if its your first company.

    I’ve had various companies on and offline since 2000 in the UK, sold my last company earlier this year. I’ve not started an official new company yet but my publisher name is NeuroDigital and it will be a company soon and all appropriate taxes will be paid of course. But no for the apple, kindle, ebooks/EIN set up process, I’m not officially a company and have not had any resistance so far and my books is in the process of being global on every book outlet.

    EIN Bonus Tip for you:

    With CreateSpace and KDP (Kindle) anyone who publishes outside of the US known as an ‘Alien’ will lose 30% of all sales in tax. You won’t be informed of this unless you read the T&C’s. So if your specific country has a tax treaty withhold policy thingy with the US (the UK does – meaning you can stop this loss in tax) you need to send a printed and signed W-8BEN form to both CS and KDP. A requirement on this form is either a ITIN (International Tax ID Number) or an EIN (Employer ID Number). Because I already had the EIN for Apple, it worked out seamless. Most people go the ITIN route which is a lot more complex to attain by all accounts.

    Everything you need is on this KDP link. Make sure you view the sample W-8BEN form so you can fill it in quickly. The CS address is different to KDP so get that from the CS site.

    https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A1VDYJ32T5D3U4

    All the best

    • Hi Ian,

      Thank you for the advice, much appreciated. That’s what I was hoping would be the answer. I shall check NeuroDigital as well.

      Thanks
      Luke

  • If you publish an e-book through Kindle Direct Publishing, can you go back and publish the same book through Create Space?

    • I haven’t read all this thread, so I don’t know if I’m stumbling into anything tangled, but: Sure you can! Kindle Direct Publishing is about ebooks; CreateSpace is about paperbacks. Or so I understand it. I did meet one person who thought CreateSpace was also doing ebooks. I’ve published on both and haven’t seen any reference on KDP to paperbacks or on CreateSpace to ebooks.

  • Thanks for sharing very helpful information about self-publishing. I’ve been on trial and error since September until November 2011 of putting things together until I gave up and send my book to the formatting services. It didn’t stop there as they didn’t do a good job after sending them in advance the money. What piece of advise can you provide to a non fiction newbie writer – who to connect to format the final ebook or print copy, who to connect or hire for copy editing? All the freebies how to that I found in youtube just worsen my book format and took a lot of my time and energy. My target date to self publish is now a month delayed. Thank you.

  • Do the payments go to ur debit card??

  • Hi Again
    I’ve now progressed to waiting for my proof to arrive from Create Space, very excited! I am now attempting to put the book which is a childrens picture book into epub format on my imac. The text is over the illustrations, saved from photoshop to PDF for createspace, think I might need some additional software to convert PDF to Epub as pages doesn’t take the illustrations very well. I am about to try anybizsoft ? Anybody tried it?

  • I have written one book and its on Amazon and lulu.com, Create Space sounds great, I want to self publish myself next time, I paid someone to get my book on the sites and such. Could you tell me for us first timers is there anyone to hold my hand through the self publishing part I mean sometimes I just don’t get the instructions. I’ve just been paying a lot of people for something I want to learn to do myself. Thank you, Gloria

  • Hi Gloria.

    You don’t say whether you want hard copies of books, or e-books, or both. Most of the answers you need are somewhere above to do everything you want, but in brief, I suggest you first get your typescript into Word and go from there. To put that into an e-book or Kindle, download http://calibre-ebook.com/download_windows which does the job for you. To have it printed, find a decent printer. I used Cpi (google it). They charge roughly £1000 a book if you give them a PDF copy (with covers) which you can easily do from Word by ‘Save As’ PDF. They will then print 300 copies and deliver them to you in paperback format. You can select the paper quality if you want something posh but their standard 85 grm paper is fine and their print-quality is excellent, as is their glue-quality etc. They will then print-on-demand any number of books you want after you sell your 300 copies at a basic rate (though I have forgotten how much that is at the moment but it’s reasonable). You should find a printer nearbye if you can’t use Cpi or you find them too expensive. Maybe someone here knows a cheaper one in which case I’d be pleased to know what other people think, though whether they meet the standards of Cpi is important for me.

    If you want to go the professional path to make your book perfect, you’ll have to work in Adobe inDeisgn or similar – I only know inDesign. This allows you to set a book strictly how you want it without the glitches that you get in Word (and there’s plenty of those!) so that it translates into a PDF pretty flawlessly. inDesign can also be used to make an e-book as well. However, inDesign is complicated, like most Adobe products.

    After that you have to connect with Amazon etc, which is all in the posts above so I won’t repeat it here. Another thing you might want to do is have your title(s) placed with Nielson Group who ensure notice is given of your title to all the book retailers internationally such as Waterstones, Blackwells, Barnes & Noble etc plus everybody else (there are something like 62,000 bookshops in the UK alone). Again, see above for further advice, but I can’t remember whether anyone has mentioned Nielson. They are the major on-line book distributor now (I think! – further suggestions welcome). This needn’t cost you anything but you’ll have to be ISBN registered.

    I’ll leave it that – don’t want to over-load you.

    Mark

  • I have a children’s book that also includes music… it’s a read along, with music and lyrics… The hard copy is a CD that works in conjunction with the book… How could I do this with the Kindle?

  • Massive information! I WILL read all of it tonight. 1st question, I have a children’s book with color illustrations. I just uploaded revisions to my Kindle version … had a couple of typos. When I reviewed, it was black and white. Will this come out in color? I don’t remember if I did anything different the first time.

    Kudos to you!!

    • Hi Emmy
      I was just formatting my children’s picture book to kindle too. As far as I have found out, the newest kindle comes in colour. But the older ones remain in Black and White. If people download the kindle app, which is free, they can view it on ipad, PC etc. I believe, in colour.
      Its a big old learning curve!
      Good luck!

  • My book is travel related so I would like to have a few photos. Not sure how difficult this is going to be.

    I plan to publish first on Kindle, then POD, Apple i-bookstore and BandN. POD – Lulu looks very expensive to print in colour as you have to select the entire book as colour. Any advice appreciated.
    Thanks
    Mark

  • I have been exploring for a little for any high quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of house . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this site. Reading this info So i?m glad to show that I have a very good uncanny feeling I found out just what I needed. I most certainly will make certain to do not fail to remember this website and give it a glance on a relentless basis.

  • Thanks, Dragos. There is some fantastic information here. I have one question; your post states that Kindle doesn’t allow a difference greater than 30% between a printed title and its Kindle version, but I noticed that Amazon.com is selling the print version of “100 Ways To Screw Up Your Life” for $7.99, which is 100% greater than the $3.99 kindle version. Has the 30% rule changed since you posted this article?

  • Hi Dragos,

    Wonderful post. Extremely informative and helpful. I’m in the process of publishing for the first time and I have a question about publishing in multiple places. For example, if I wanted my book to be published on Amazon, Google and Lulu, are there any copyright complications that you know of? I haven’t been able to find any such mentions, but you seem to be something of an expert so I thought I’d ask you about it.

    Cheers,
    Amber

  • Thank you so much for your article, it was very helpful. Just one quick question, when you publish with any of the sites you reviewed do you get to keep all the publishing rights of your book?

  • I also thank you so much for your article, it was very helpful. Quick question, if we publish with any of the sites you reviewed do we get to keep all the publishing rights of your book? I am interested in keeping ownership of my material and its Intellectual Property Rights as well as P ublishing rights. The reason is that the material is original content and is from 40 years of work in the field.
    The material also contains copyrights. Would appreciate feedback comments on my concern.

  • Nice article – I’m not good at writing, but think this is a great opportunity for anyone to publish something without using the traditional publishers.

    Thanks for this detailed article.

  • Timothy Michael says: January 1, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    I recently created some book covers for a friend of mine who recently switched to Amazon from Publish America. I own a Mac, so I know my colors are good. Every time he gets a proof back from them though, they get the colors wrong. My colors are bright and vibrant and still within gamut. However, when they print it, the character on the cover’s skin looks red and often orange, like a bad sun tan. It is also darker than my digital cover and far less impressive.

    I am aware that some variation from digital is going to occur in almost ALL cases, but I printed this up at school and it turned out perfectly. Could the problem be photo paper vs. standard paperback book cover? What is the problem?

  • Hi Dragos,

    Thank you for the article, loads of great info…

    I am a first time writer and looking to hopefully sell as a ebook. One question, how many pages/words to you feel should be in the book?

    Please look at my blog and be good of you to follow and comment. The story is not complete and as I have said I am not an author and it will be edited.
    The blog is:

    http://thewrongplaceatthewrongtime.blogspot.com

    Many thanks and I hope to hear from you.

    Have a great 2012.

    Dave Perlmutter

  • Timothy Michael says: January 4, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Hi, I took your advice (At least to a point). I have a concern. I took my book cover and saved it in CMYK. The trouble is when I open it, all of it has been lightened. This may be beneficial if the print line at CreateSpace will print them crisper. The black on the cover has been lightened. Will it print that way, or will the black look the same as RGB?

    • Timothy, this is what CreateSpace recommend… I Quote from a support email response:

      “Thank you for contacting us in regard to your cover.

      We accept files in both the RGB and CMYK color spaces. We recommend maintaining all original artwork in Adobe RGB, which allows for the best possible conversion to our digital, CMYK printers. Below, I have provided additional information regarding both.

      RGB is the primary color model used by electronic display devices (e.g., monitors). CMYK is the primary color model used by color printers. Combining red, green, and blue light creates images in RGB. This additive process can create millions of different colors by using different concentrations of the primaries. CMYK, in contrast, creates different colors in a subtractive process using four colors or inks: cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow, and black.

      The differences between RGB and CMYK become crucial when desktop publishers attempt to move documents from their screens to a printed piece. There are many RGB colors that CMYK printers cannot reproduce. Something that looks good on the monitor may not look the same when printed. To overcome this limitation, many applications allow you to work with an image by specifying CMYK color instead of RGB. Other software attempts to match as closely as possible the printed output with the RGB input.”

      I followed this instruction and my covers were great.

      Ian

  • Hello Dragos,

    Very informative article. Thank you. I just wanted to point out that you can use colour illustrations and they will appear on devices outsides of a Kindle reader. I do not have a Kindle reader but do have the Kindle App on my Iphone plus my desktop computer and laptop. Now with Kindle Fire I believe coloured images will now appear unlike the first Kindle version

  • Hi, thanks for the vivid discussion, that gave some ideas on getting on with my project – I registered with GRIN a German publisher, does anybody has any experience with this company (http://www.grin.com)?
    To me it seems to be a fair offer and I like the idea of a growing network of authors.
    I like the idea that authors are free to decide if they receive monetary benefits from their work, or to simply contribute their publication for the use of others.
    And the other thing is that authors may also publish their works as a book with an ISBN – its absolutely free they say. Anyone who likes to compare notes?

  • publishmybookonkindle.com will – for a 15-20% stake in your Kindle book – do all of the hard work for you. That is, the formatting, cover design, publishing and promotion!

  • Loved your article, thank you! I just wanted to check with you because I’ve been looking at both options – publishing through CreateSpace and selling through Amazon – or – publishing separately and then selling on Amazon. It appears that to just be a seller on Amazon you need a US or UK bank account but I am based in New Zealand. Did you have any trouble not having a US bank account when you did your selling through CreateSpace and Amazon?
    Thanks!

  • thanks for the writeup!…do you develop IOS apps natively or with a third party development tool?

  • Hey Dragos… Thanks for the info… Quick question. Do I require an ISBN or UPC to have an audio product or book placed and available through Amazon?

  • Dragos, THANKS a MillionFor the inspiration to get me started on something I have been hoping to do for a long time. YOU are a Dream-Maker!

  • It’s probably obvious to others but I hope you can give me some direction. What is appealing about on line publishing is putting links in my work.

    Can I put web links in these platforms? Is there a drawback, with people having to type in manually the link if it is on paper?

    Thanks

  • Hi sir,
    I read your complete article and got myself registered at createspace. I got an ISBN for free from them. But later I checked on royalty settings that i need to have a tax number and for that I need to fill some forms. I decided not to publish through createspace. So my question is, what will happen to the ISBN assigned for my title. Can I still use that.?

  • One more thing that surprised me is how can you get ISBN from Newzealand agency when you are not the citizen of it.?

  • Thanks for responding back Sir:-) It was really helpful:-)

  • One last thing., can you pls guide me how to get an ISBN in India..?

  • You mention a cover space but I’m curious how a children’s picture book woul work or do they generally not do children’s works with pictures this way?

    • I don’t think they have strict rules about the content, as long as you don’t do something offending. I’m talking about printed books via CreateSpace. Colored books for kids are a bit difficult. the new Kindle Fire and the latest iBooks Author, may give you a bit of room to maneuver, but I haven’t tested them yet.

  • Hi, I’m wondering about using Amazon.com for self publishing an ebook. I live in Canada though and noticed something about tax information on the amazon site saying they hold 30%. Do you know anything about that or where I could find more information about that?

    • Unless you have a bilateral treaty between Canada and US, US will take 30% from your royalties upfront. If you do have such a treaty, you should do some paper work and you may have some tax cuts. So, the starting point is to see US – Canada bilateral treaties for taxing royalties.

  • Hi Dragos
    What an amazing post and comments. I have published on Kindle e-books sold 16 in 16 days.I now want to go to print via CP. So a few questions.
    If you go from CP to KDP they charge for some reason. I presume it is not chargeable the other way around, so why do not people publish on KDP as an e-book first.
    My e-book is $3.75, what should I charge for the printed book.

    I have also heard that CP will be available on Amazon UK which will be better for UK based authors and less postage for purchasers in the UK. Have you heard about this.
    I have also seen that my printed book will eventually show up on the Amazon UK , and that they might then be posted from the UK , which should make postage easier.
    Or is it that I have to buy a 100 books or so myself, then get them stocked by Amazon to post out, as they have a system for this.
    Any help from you or your followers is much appreciated. But this post has already been a fantastic help, I will make sure there is a link from my site.

  • My take Steve and everyone else interested. Took me while to work all this out so treat with care.

    Agree its best to go for KDP first as its easiest and cheapest and a good test for your book and market. If it works roll it out in print. I sell more print books in the UK than Kindle, in the US its heavily in favour of Kindle. No charge for setting up on CS nor KDP now…

    Its a good time to publish on CreateSpace as they have just scrapped the ProPlan. So everyone now gets great prices. I recommend the EDC (Distribution) for $25 per annum to get your book out there in the US. Their EDC at this time does not cover the UK. CS to KDP charge? Not in my experience. Simply set up a new account at CS, I never even mentioned KDP when working with CS.

    By publishing with CS in the US you control the Amazon.com ‘Buy Now’ Button and itshows as ‘In Stock’. CreateSpace are saying nothing on POD in the UK, but I’ve heard rumours too, we need it. You may wait forever for CS to get your book into the UK, take control yourself. The best alternative, if your margins allow is to set up 1, 2 or 3 of these.

    1. Amazon Advantage: You ship books to Amazon.co.uk. For each sale they give you 40% of retail price of the book, for example mine is £19.95 – regardless of what the price on Amazon.co.uk is (normally £12-£13) I still get 40% of £19.95 so think about retail price on the back cover. Incidentally you do not have to stick to this retail price when listing on Amazon.com, its simply a guide that will eventually go to Nielsen, Bowker, Baker & Taylor, Ingram for their book databases. Nobody sticks to RRP these days. Advantage in the UK pretty much gets you the Amazon.co.uk ‘Buy Now’ button for your book. You an also get it via FBA but its not so easy.

    2. FBA – Fulfilment Buy Amazon: This puts your book on their Marketplace. You ship books to an Amazon fulfilment centre and again they ship books direct to customer when they sell.

    3. Standard Marketplace listing: Again on their Marketplace but this time you ship when books sell.

    I run all 3 of these just to dominate the Amazon.co.uk listing for my book.

    a. Advantage gets me the ‘Buy Now’ button and it shows as ‘In Stock’.

    b. FBA gets me the 2nd lowest price Marketplace listing (behind Book Depositary who always want to be cheapest) , still good profit like Advantage and it gives confidence to customers as it says Fulfilled By Amazon. Also good if your stock of Advantage books sells out (as the Buy Now button will then show as 3 Weeks Availability again), so FBA listing is your back up, has worked for me a few times when stock has just gone fast from Advantage and CS are slow at printing and shipping as times do vary.

    c. And I list a more expensive copy in the Marketplace that I ship form my office if they sell. I list details about ‘Direct form the Publisher’ and its just essentially getting me more ‘real estate’ and more exposure. Just like SEO in Google rankings – the more listings on page 1 the better clickthrough/conversion rate!

    Done and Done!

    • Ian, thanks for being such a huge contributor to this thread. I really, really appreciate your patience and attention to detail. Congrats, man!

      • NP Dragos. Your post is one of the best I’ve seen online and it helped me, so happy to contribute. The information out there on other sites including the big publishing sites is hopeless at best and like most information online, its just noise written by post grads who do not have the ‘T-shirt’.

  • Ian, thank you ever so much for taking the time with your very quick reply.
    I sort of had the idea of it all, but you have explained it very clearly.
    This is a great site, I have just given it the little plug I mentioned earlier..
    Although my hits are a tad less than this site. LOL

    • Stevem thanks for the plug and happy you found what you searched for here. As you saw, this is a collaborative effort, there a lot of people who gave out their time and knowledge to make this happen. All the best with your ebook, buddy :)

  • Sherri McLain says: January 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Dragos,

    I found your post because I’m trying to set up self-pub accounts on all the main sites – Kindle, B and N, amazon for paperbacks, etc, and they are asking me for US bank account and address info. I’m American but I live in the UK so I no longer have any US accounts. Do you like in the US? If not, how did you set up accounts without this information? I might be asking an obvious question but I’m stumped.

    Thanks

    Sherri

    • I never had any problem with they asking me for a US bank account. I remember somebody asked this on a previous comments and my answer was the same: you don’t need one. You do need a tax id number |(either business or individual) in order to track the tax you owe to US, but that’s it’s pretty easy to obtain, you can do it via tel and all you need is a fax from where you send a form. Took me 30 minutes, including conversation with an IRS clerk until I had my US tax id.

    • Hi Sherri. CreateSpace and KDP only pay in US dollars to non-US publishers so its cheque only and typically costs about £10 to deposit. The best alternative I’ve found is to get a Payoneer Mastercard. This enables you to get deposits paid onto the card and you can then use the balance from the card for normal purchases or you can transfer to Paypal or to your bank at a cheaper rate than paying a paper cheque in.

      You can go to Payoneer direct to apply or you can get it – typically cheaper – from one of their partners (list on their site) such as Elance, oDesk, etc. The cheapest rates you’ll find for the Payoneer card are if you apply via Elance, Talia (who is awesome btw) at Payoneer gave me this tip.

      http://help.elance.com/entries/34516-payoneer-prepaid-mastercard

      Disclaimer: My Payoneer card is on its way so as of yet I have not used it for the above but I have been assured it will work as described.

      Every time I paid a cheque in at Santander it took about 20 minutes of paperwork so I had to find a solution. And £10 is a bit steep!

      • Edit to my post above RE Payoneer. My card arrived but I found out that I had to set up (by request at Payoneer) a bolt-on called ‘US Payments Service’ that allows you to get your royalties paid via EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) as opposed to cheque/check.

        When set up Payoneer will give you your details so you can enter these details (Bank Name, Acc. No & Routing Code) into KDP and CreateSpace royalty remittance pages.

        At the time of writing this is the only service available for Non-US publishers to get the money EFT’d as opposed to cheque/check from Amazon when using Payoneer.

        They are working on Amazon using their ‘Bank Transfer Service’.

        Boom!

  • Sherri McLain says: January 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    sorry, I meant “do you live in the US?”

    Sherri

  • Brad McMurrey says: January 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Thanks for taking time to post a very informative blog. But are you sure about this:
    (Kindle doesn’t allow a difference wider than 30% between a printed title and its Kindle version)?
    So if my ebook price $3 the print price can be no more than $4.80? After Amazon takes their cut and you pay print costs you would lose money on every print book sold.
    I looked through the kIndle terms and conditions and pricing page and the only thing I saw related to ebook price vs print price was this:
    But if you choose the 70% Royalty Option, you must further set and adjust your List Price so that it is at least 20% below the list price in any sales channel for any physical edition of the Digital Book.

    Thanks in advance.
    Brad

    • They may have adjusted the difference, but, as you can see, they do insist on some kind of difference. At the moment of writing, that difference was in place. On a side note, publishing in print is clearly a losing business, no matter how you look at it.

  • hi, Dragos!
    It is very interesting post, tnx.
    My question is: what bads can appear at the beginning of work with amazon and from what depends amount of sales of your book.
    Thanks and sorry for english.

  • After 3 days of tinkering and reviewing I have finally pushed the button with CP.
    I just used my word doc which was adjusted to fit margin, you just load it and they tell you what’s wrong, so just a matter of checking your whole book on their previewer.
    The cover I used one of their templates and on some you can change the background colour, so be aware of this. I managed to up the dpi on a picture I had for the cover, which I had used for the kindle version.
    I have to wait 48 hours for the full review, and I will take Dragos advice and order a hard copy before I push the final button.
    Thanks again for the great advice.

    • Great job! All the luck and keep us posted :)

    • Steve, any problems post them, I’ll see if I can help. Trust me – anything that could go wrong publishing with CS, did in my experience. You name it, it happened. I’m trying to locate my latest order of books as we speak.

      • Ian I had confirmation this morning that all was OK to order. So I have ordered 3 copies express post, so a few friends can check out the book before final print.

        On another point my Kindle book is going over a book a day, so looks like over 30 books for the first month. As it is my first book I am very pleased.

  • Good one Steve. Yeah I only have one book out as well late 2011, books 2 and 3 are currently in writing. My first month sales in paper and Kindle were single digits each. Apparently most books sell 500 max in their life-cycle so smashing that was my initial goal, reached mid Jan so I’m happy. Your sales will be pretty hot by month 3 guaranteed!

  • Hello!
    Okay, so it may have been asked or mentioned, but here’s the thing. I really, really want to be a writer! I’ve looked into Kindle and I’m looking into CreateSpace, like your post suggested. The thing is is I am totally confused about how Copyright works. I’ve been trying to find something to explain it to me and it like, flies over my head every time. SO! I am going to ask here.

    Can I Copyright my book(s) before I publish them with Kindle/CreateSpace? Are they automatically Copyrighted when I do that? Do I have to register with the U.S Copyright Office for it to be Copyrighted? When I use CreateSpace, can I print my book first and then reprint it with the Copyright page without it hitting the market? Etc.

    If anyone can help me understand this or answer my questions. I would be so grateful! Thank you.

  • Great stuff here, Thank!

    Maybe I missed something, but am I correct that I can export my iWork Pages book into an epub and load it to kindle and it will publish it?

    I know about loading the cover separately.

    Thanks!

  • I could hardly believe it as this morning a courier delivered the proof copies of my book. That is just 4 days from the US to France, it is an amazing feeling to see your first novel in print.
    My target sales from Jan the 6th when it was launched was 1 book a day for the first month. I have sold 30, so just one to go.

    On a point of pricing, I wanted it at 3 euros, but this is near $3.89 . As I keep reading that the magic figure is $2.99 should I drop it. Most of my sales have been from the UK.

    • Hi,

      Where did you read the bit about the magic figure?
      What are you doing to sell a book a day as far as advertising?

      Ciao

      • Hi Ashley
        The magic figure can from a guy that sells over 100k worth of book on Amazon. He does have about 20 titles. He said in the States 2.99 is the best price to sell in those numbers and that you make $2 a book, which is as much as a published book.
        The KDP

  • Hi,

    Great post!
    One question, I thought I read that with KDP and IBooks they must have exclusive rights of sale on the book, so either I miss read them or how did you get round this?

    Thanks

    • The KDP is a special programme you do not have to use it. But it is better promotion and rates. To start off it is a good way to go, and you can leave it after 90 days.

      The good thing is if people are on Prime they can have your book on loan for free, but there also is a fund shared out, so you will get something for the loans.
      To promote my e-book I emailed friends, mention it on forums and blogs. Added it to free advertising websites. In fact I have my own advertising website and have added a free section where people can add their own titles so feel free to add anyone. I will broaden the subs sections a little, so it is not just books about France.
      I am sure we can all help each other, what goes round, comes around.

      http://www.frenchclassified.com

  • Just checking in again on this exchange of information site. I have now uploaded my third book to the Apple, kindle, and nook platforms. I still don’t know whether I need separate ISBN’s for each platform, but that is what I’m doing. Next time I’m going to buy 100 ISBN numbers so it will be less expensive.

    The latest book title is “Don’s Great Escape: Life in a German POW Camp” and is the story of my uncle’s experience in the camp made famous by the movie The Great Escape. I could tell MANY people got an iPad for Christmas as all of my books started getting many more downloads after that period. This last book has had 337 downloads in three weeks, most on Apple platform and in 10 different countries. I make these books free on Apple and $.99 on kindle and nook.

    Now I’m exploring iBooks Author. One needs to have Lion on their Mac before downloading the app iBooks Author. At first look, it does not seem worth it for kind of books I write, but would be interested in the experience of others.

  • I just wrote a long message and it went before I submitted so here it is short version.

    I have a book I sell through my website and sell around 3000 a year here alone. I have just started selling on Amazon and the book comes up unavailable as Amazon have no stock I have an isbn number and just use a printer to keep costs to a minimum, I have a massive online presence so do all my own promotion. I have asked if there is anyway Amazon can take the out of stock message off and have me as the seller as I would sell quite a few a week and people see the message and think there are none available. Cut a long story short the message has been taken off after loads of confusing emails, but now says Amazon have it in stock and can supply, well this is impossible and I really can’t keep trying to email over this anymore.

    Can anyone advise me the best way to go about selling on there and getting this message off if I am the sole supllier and expect to sell many books on there? I don’t even know if I have the right account

    I have also just made a kindle version and sell on my site but not in Amazon and need to look into this to

    Dragos how much do you charge for advice as I could do with a few answers to help me with certain things? Your welcome to email an answer through the email I joined here

    Thanks for any advice

  • Paul, its all there about 30 posts above this one. It starts “My take Steve and everyone else interested. Took me while to work all this out so treat with care.”

    This is what you need to do.

  • I have Vantastic France as a free download 1st & 2 nd Feb. I didn’t realise I had to set my 7 days that are part of the KDP select propmotion, so though I would try a couple of free days. I understand there are mixed feelings about a free download promotion, but most people seems to think that it does no harm. It would be interesting to see what others thin on here.

  • Oops hit the post button before I read what my fingers had typed. lol

  • Great info – thank you. Quick questions –

    1) how do illustrations work? I have them saved as seperate jpg files on my computer, but do I need to insert them into my word document before converting/uploading?

    2) what are the dimensions of the standard size (concerned about re-sizing my book cover art to the proper dimensions).

    Thanks in advance!

    • I don’t know about the latest Kindle Fire (I don’t own one) but generally speaking, images are converted to black and white. A few formats are available from Apple to publish photo based books too, but didn’t try them. Yet.

      • thanks. its not necessarily a picture based book. It is a traditional fantasy with a map, geneology/family tree and a few other helpful illustrations (5 total). The map would be great in color, but still functional in b&w.

        for B&W, do you just put them into the word file before formatting/uploading? or is there a seperate illustration uploader feature?

  • Thanks you for this post! I’m curious as to your thoughts on using iAuthor to publish to the iBookstore. The agreement is confusing as to what rights Apple will have to future ownership of content. Is this the same in using Pages to create an ePub?

    • I already published 2 ebooks using iAuthor (actually they are textbooks). I was thinking to write a short round up on wow to use iAuthor too, and if there are more than one people willing to read something like this, I’ll do it in a few days.

      As for the legal agreements it was a long debate on the Internet, right after iAuthor came out. Basically, you own the content, but the form of the packaging is owned by Apple. Which seems fair, as long as Apple is giving iAuthor for free. If you want to publish your ebook in another format, you’re free to do it, make it a PDF, an ePub, whatever.

  • Jonathon Jones says: February 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I have a couple of questions about distributing directly through Apple. I’ve noticed that on Smashword’s sales figures, one really has no clue what they have been selling on Apple until around 15 days after the end of each month. If one deals with Apple directly, are the sales figures more time or at least have less of a delay, or are they pretty much in line with Smashword’s reporting?

    Secondly, I’ve noticed that even on .99 books I’m getting what seems like a higher percentage from Apple sales through Smashwords than it looks like I would possibly get if I dealt with Apple directly. (I’m getting 60 cents for .99 books for Apple books sold on Smashwords, but it looks like on Apple I’d only receive around 35-40 cents) Does Smashwords have some kind of contract with them which allows sales that go through them to give authors higher royalties?

    • I don’t know about Smashwords (if you read the article you’ll see that I didn’t use them) but on Apple I get sales report every 24 hours (I can always check yesterday’s sales, that is). Also, the cut for Apple is 30%, the same as for the iOS developer program.

  • Just to let you guys know how my free 2 day offer went on KDP select.
    I had sold 32 paid book in Jan my first month.
    1st 2nd Feb free books sold 164.
    I have been thinking about dropping the price from $3.99 to $2.99 as most books in a similar category are at $2.99 or £1.99 in UK where most of my sales are, as it is a book about a UK family moving to France.
    Should I take advantage of the publicity I gained with the free book offer and drop the price now.
    I know pricing is a difficult issue and I would like to sell more books in the US.

  • Dragos, my ibook has now gone live on the ibook store. Have you used any marketing tips you would like to share?
    Diana

    • I’m just about to start a promotion on this blog. Other than my own social network and this very blog, I didn’t use any marketing so far. I intend to change this, though :)

  • Just come across your blog. Some great information here. Pertinent to my situation. I’ve just slogged through all the KDP information and finally got a couple of books up. Now I’ll take what you have written about CreateSpace and Apple and see where I end up.

  • Hi Dragos

    I live in Auckland, New Zealand. I am planning to publish my own book on Kindle.
    I can see now people using various publishing platforms, such as KDP, CreateSpace, Smashwords, Lulu, iBooks, etc, which is a bit confusing to me.
    Can you advise which one is best to use in terms of simplicity/efficiency?
    Thanks for the info about ITN tax thing. If I publish as individual, can i just submit my IRD number?
    Thanks!

    • I guess you could go with your IRD number, if you already have one (I suppose you have, since you mentioned it).

      As for which system is the best, it depends on the book, the intended audience, your level of expertise, and a lot of other factors. My experience is with non-fiction books, and I prefer Apple’s platform. Not much to back up this choice with, rather than my own Apple fanboyism (kidding, of course). Seems like some fiction authors are doing great on Kindle, though.

  • Hi Dragos and everyone,

    I’m looking to publish ‘The Power of Reinvention’ by Debbie Arnold my business associate in Inspiring Enterprises. We created the original book in In-Design and then PDF you can see it here http://inspirationandreinventiongroups.com/

    It seems easiest to convert to word .doc and that is okay.

    My question is about DRM. I object on principle but it isn’t my book and Debbie doesn’t really understand the technology issues.

    I was wondering what the advantages and disadvantages are and what others have done.

    Thanks you in advance

    Conrad

    • I don’t use, nor do I recommend using DRM. It’s an intellectual property protection technology, but it’s not well received and it may do more harm than good (at least in terms of popularity for your books).

  • Absolutely fantastic information. Great to see your books on ibook store and kindle. I have had great success with kindle i would appreciate if you could let me know how to open the itunes producer in windows 7. i got my itunes ibook account approved but i have a windows and would appreciate if you could let me know how to open itunes producer in windows7 thanks

    • To my knowledge, iTunes Producer works only on Mac. So if you have a Windows computer, it won’t run out of the box. The solution may be to use a Mac emulator (something like Parallels), but it may be more work than it’s supposed to be. I guess the short answer is: it only works on a Mac.

  • Dragos, this is a great introduction to sepf publishing. Thank you for taking the time to write it. You’ve given me some good pointers and an idea of where to start.

  • Hi Dragos,
    Really appreciate your article here. I’m about to ‘microtest’ the market for an ebook as recommended by Tim Ferris in the 4 hour work week. If you haven’t checked this out then please do, it’s pure logic at its finest.

    My question is – If I want to sell through my own website can I just offer a pdf download? What would be the pro’s and cons of this?

    Many thanks,
    Mike

    Also as a sidepoint – I read your bio on amazon on your 100 ways to screw up book and thought it was really interesting but was left wanting a bit more. More info here would make me more likely to buy. Just a thought!

    • It really depends on the size of your blog (or the power of your personal brand). I sell approximately the same number of copies from my blog, as I do on any other sales channel (Kindle, iBookStore) but that’s just me. Among the pros: you keep record of your clients emails and can re-use them, you can also ask for direct feedback, you don’t pay much to the middle man, etc. among the cons: like I said, the size of your blog/community may be a handicap, being a PDF the ebook can be pirated (I was surprised to see my ebooks on torrents a few days after I launched them).

      As for the bio on Amazon, thanks for the feedback, I’ll try to do better next time. :)

      Hope this helps.

  • Jessica Talbot says: February 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Hi there,
    Great blog, thank you. I’m gearing up to publish my fist book as a e-book on amazon. The issue I have is about how they might be able to pay me. I noticed you said you were Romanian and New Zealander. I’m a New Zealander, but my bank accounts are in Australia, and I live in Argentina. Sending royalties check to Argentina doesn’t work, as, firstly they most likely wouldn’t get here, secondly getting them cashed would be almost impossible. Do you know if amazon would send the check to a nominated person in Australia, and they could deposit the checks for me. Or would it be best to try and get a US bank account…
    Any ideas more than welcome…
    Thanks in advance

    • As far as I know, you can ask Kindle to send the checks to an aussie address, and somebody else, usually your chartered accountant, can deposit them for you, in your aussite bank account. The same setup works for me in NZ without a problem. Hope this helps.

  • Hi Dragos,
    I wrote a book a long while ago and have been put off by publishers “liking it, but not in vogue at the moment”. I am not technically “savy” so have also not been able to understand the self publishing process. I will apologize if my questions are rather simple. However, I have to say that your explanation of the publishing process was very helpful to me.
    If I download my book to one of the self publishing venues, how do I know that the format I have written ie in microsoft word (with its margins, page breaks etc will transfer properly, won’t it be a mess? Is this what you mean by “format”.

    • Yes, that’s what I understand by “format”. But chances are that your initial format will be modified, depending on the selling platform. For instance, on Kindle it will look in a certain way, and in iBookStore will look differently. Each publisher use a different rendering engine.

  • Hi Dragos, I have to say first of all that i’ve been immersing myself in how to self-publish for days now, as i have a book ready, and your blog article is the single most useful article I have found!! I also like the look of your books, and your overall style. I do have some questions, and I hope you don’t mind me asking you these once i’ve formulated them based on a little more research.

    Just one observation: on Create Space, there is no way to look inside your book or read anything about it. Is that standard on Create Space?

    Thank you SO much for this article.

    • When you say “there is no way to look inside your book” you refer to the CreateSpace store you get? If so, yes, that’s true, as far as I know there’s no “look inside this book” functionality as they have in Amazon/Kindle.

      But if you want to say something like “how do I see the final version of the book I’ve published?”, you get a proof copy shipped to you once you’re ready, so you can actually hold it in your hands and see how it feels.

  • Hi, i already published a book in argentina. It is mostly images beacuse they are all photographs. If I already have the printed copies, do you know who can help me to sell them in amazon?

    Thanks so much!!!!!!! you are so clear and to the point! :)
    Vero, all the way from Argentina

  • Stuart Fitzgerald says: February 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Hey Dragos
    This is fascinating stuff – i just need to know a little about formatting for publishing on Kindle…. my book is currently in MS Word….. can it be uploaded in that format or do i need to PDF or do something else with it?
    I am most grateful for any advice you or your readers can offer me. Thanks

  • Hi Dragos, this is a really informative article! I’ve just started looking into this and was lucky enough to find this quite early on!
    My question is, can you publish the same book with several different publishers? I mean exactly the same book with Lulu or Kindle or Createspace?

  • Great read! Wonderful information.

  • Dragos,

    Do you know how to obtain North American Distribution rights for a book published overseas? In Romania,of course, it seems we are a nation of writers…..
    Can you be contact directly by email?
    Thank you.

  • Ok, so Dragos work with me here. First post to you, read through this entire bloglog, *whew*. And Yes I am suffering stutter brain after no sleep. Here is my question, with this new Scenario of the Barnes & Noble/Amazon lines of demarcation and much peeing of the boundaries, paired with ebook sales and availability of ebooks vs. physical paper ones… *Tears out hair* WHAT AM I TO DO? THis large log of comments after this article.. has me even more worried. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/01/barnes-noble-wont-stock-amazon_n_1247088.html
    Now.. Here is my reach out to you all here, whom I find to be the truly most helpful on the quest to publish: I have 20 some books, as yet unpublished in the United states, of which I am a citizen of, and I have isbn’s from another country altogether, South Africa. Yeah.. And then some.
    So.. here I am looking at the difficulties of file types, as I printed in Quark for one thing for the printer, and Pdf I have onhand. I am only so savy on the aspects of files. Then of course, the entirety of printing to WHOM is an issue.

    This blog log has led me to believe that I can manage different isbn’s for the same book, and sell it to both B&N and Amazon, but on the Terms sheet for Amazon, which has as well drawn new changes here of late.. Amazon says, no, you only get to sell to us. In fact they specifically state, they are also fully incharge of promotion and dont try doing that either. Not to mention their Terms get a little draconian in their statements of How they will choose to change prices as they see fit, and the only means of dealing with that is to yank your book. ( is that some kind of standard?)

    So.. maybe Im lost after reading all of this, but as you all seem to have a more distinct flavor for following this blog and honestly reaching out to state your own experiences Im here seeking Help! Because for certain.. while I loved reading this blog/commentary.. it seems the field has taken a rather large change in season this month.

    I want to sell lots of books and be happy WITHOUT stockpiling tons of preprinted initially and being a madman trying to handle every legal/shipping/tax issue in the universe at once, AND STILL WRITE! IS that a pipe dream in this country? Or do I have to knuckle down, buy 100 isbns that seperate sellers, publish in epub.. which.. I dont think Kindle is allowing now(maybe wrong, but their site seemed to only ask for word or html), and then spend another week banging my head on a wall telling myself, “No really this is possible, you are ready for this, JUST DO IT”?? *grin*

    • I didn’t see any exclusivity clause in Amazon selling channels (both printed, as in CreateSpace, or electronic, as in Kindle). There are exclusivity clauses only if you want to participate in specific programs, I guess Kindle has something related to this. But they are optional. So the answer is yes, you can publish on any platform you want, but, as far as I know, you will need a different ISBN for any edition. Amazon uses ASIN, an internal notation, so ISBN is optional for them, so I suggest to save them for other channels, like iBookStore.

      Also, I don’t know from where you got the obligation to stockpile printed copies, never seen that before.

      In short, just do it. :)

  • After being turned down at the last minute by a book publisher I have decided to get by books onto Amazon Kindle. I have stumbled across this brilliant site. Think I need the idiots guide as to where to start, but if I read through all of these comments hopefully, I will know where to begin!. Thank you

  • hey there – just stumbled across your article about how to self publish – wish i found this months ago – as have just done most of the above myself…. The hard way ;) Great Post!!!!
    i do have a question… i have already self published to amazon.com/and .co.uk as an ebook for kindle (‘Rotten to the Core’) now i am in the process of setting up createspace and Lulu for print – but also as ebooks (as these ones will also reach barnes and noble nook and ibookstore – will the ebooks created by these companys effect the ebook i have already set up and have been selling on Amazon? As i believe Createspace is owned by Amazon?
    Thank you for yr help – Casey

    • Yeap, CreateSpace is Amazon’s company. But the rest of the question I don’t really get it? Can you give me more details about what you’re interested? Sorry if it’s obvious and I’m just dumb :)

  • Dragos,

    Thank you for this extensive coverage of self-publishing with the major players and your patience in conveying it to us. Your advice is spot-on.

    I’m making this article required reading for my clients, even the comments and the updates since the playing field keeps changing.

  • Steve Gierhart says: February 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Dragos: I plan on self-publishing my novel through CreateSpace but am trying to decide the merits of buying my ISBN from Bowker’s versus using CreateSpace’s ISBN.

    I read an article from April Hamilton which said the following: “Only the registered owner of an ISBN can list the associated book with the Library of Congress, Bowker’s Books In Print (catalog for U.S./Canadian libraries and booksellers), Ingram (another U.S. catalog), or the Nielsen’s catalog (for UK/European libraries and booksellers), and CS elects not to create those listings for any of its ISBNs.”

    The last sentence of her comment is what is bothersome. I understand that an indie may not need Barnes and Noble or a library to stock their book. However, that is still a desire. Even having a Library of Congress tag seems useful at first glance. Nonetheless, if a library uses cataloging services and is unlikely to use Amazon, for example, to buy a book, how will my local library ever get my book in stock?

    For me, money is not the issue. I can spend the reportedly $275 for 10 ISBNs from Bowkers.

    Since you are an independent thinker and publisher (and not working for CreateSpace), can you tell me what concerns I should address before making my decision?

    • I don’t know these specific details, as I’m not interested to be featured on the Library of Congress (no pun intended). But what I take from the quote you posted is that “CS will not create those listings”. Yet, you, as the owner of the work, can do that, using the ISBN CreateSpace gave to you. The only thing that changes with the CS provided ISBN is that they will appear as your publisher, the book is still yours. Hope this helps.

  • Hi Dragos -

    Thank you so much for this amazing overview! I’m in the process of converting a book that used to be hard copy to e-format. The rights have reverted to me and now I want to self-publish it. I just opened ibooks author and it looks super easy to use. I have two questions:

    1. Since the book was already published and had its own ISBN, do I need to get a new ISBN to distinguish myself as the publisher/owner of the content?

    2. If I create the book in ibooks, can I also sell it on amazon or is the only storefront available the ibookstore?

    Thanks again. You really created a very helpful tool for authors!

    April

    • 1. It’s my understanding that each and every edition needs a separate ISBN. I have separate ISBNs for my printed, Kindle and iBookStore books.

      2. The format created by iAuthor is available only on iBookStore. Even in the license it says that the output of iAuthor can be used only on iBookStore. The content of the book is still yours and you can reformat it and publish wherever you want.

      Hope this helps.

  • Incredibly helpful article! Thank you! How do you think you’ll be marketing your books? Aside from mentioning it to your Twitter followers and Facebook friends, what other things do you think you’ll do?

    Thanks again! :)

  • Do you offer consult services to walk us through this process even more> I would pay you to actually take my written book file and put it up on all these sites.

  • Can a person publish from outside the US or UK ?
    (I am from India)

  • Hi again Dragos,

    I wrote a novel years ago and have done nothing about publishing it. I loved your article. A couple of things I need verification on. In your article you mentioned that digital books are more open to piracy, so how what are the best steps to protect one’s work. I have read most of the posts, and believe that ISBN numbers are only identifiers of publisher not copywrite protection.
    Also I do not have a cover for the book. In traditional bookstore books, this is very important. In the templates for the bookcover which createspace have how good are these?

    • As for the piracy, it’s there and it will always be. My books are on torrents the very next day after they’re published, so it ‘s something that I decided to live with. As much as you don’t like it, it may be an indicator that your work is appreciated, though. And ISBN numbers have nothing to do with piracy, they’re means to identify each edition of a published book.

      CreateSpace has a number of templates that you may customize, if you want.

  • Dear Dragos,

    Thank you so very much for sharing your info and experience with us. I have a question for you about pricing. If one self-publishes via CreateSpace, how much control do you have over setting the selling price? If I believe my book is woth $100, do CreateSpace have the right to veto this and set their own price? Also, could you say a few short words about royalty/profit per book. Does CreateSpace set this in advance.

    Much thanks.
    Dan

    • CreateSpace is an Amazon division, which means Amazon will control the price. I don’t know the real algorithm, but they seem to modify the price after a while (dropping it, that is). As for the royalties, there are two programs, both described in the article, I won’t duplicate the content in a comment. ;)

  • Hello Dragos,
    Thank you for an inspiring article and information. I’m a Personal Cook and i’ve been contemplating the idea of writing and self publishing my own Venezuelan Cookbook. I’m very excited about this and i will take all i learned here into practice.

  • Hi Dragos
    I am working with a first time Author and I loved your piece. I am not sure how many people reported two little spelling issues I found while reading your fantastic article. ..hahahaha Definitely your article is very informative and complete. I am going to use the Kindle and ibookstore and your content was instrumental in my final decision for this client. Thank you again for a job well done.
    How are your books selling?

    • As you see, nobody reported those spelling errors, but I’ll be really grateful if you do that for me. There’s no better way to learn than from your own mistakes. As for selling, I’m ok.

  • Hey Dragos
    Thank you so much for this very informative article. Also thanks for simplifying what takes days to muddle though on the ins and outs of publishing to kindle. One thing I can’t seem to find anywhere is the actual importance of having an ISBN. If I publish directly to kindle Amazon says you do not have to have one. I have one novel complete and am working on the second in a series to follow. If I want to be able to sell my books, in ebook format, in locations other than amazon can I do so without an ISBN? If not can one purchase ISBN’s and add them to an already self published book on Amazon? Sorry for the barrage of questions in one post. This stuff gets a little confusing. :)
    Jim

    • ISBN is a way to organize your book on the books universe. Each edition has its own ISBN (being it a printed or a digital edition). So, to answer your question, in CreateSpace (the printing division of Amazon) you get an ISBN for free (but that will list your publisher as “Create Space” since they are the owners of the ISBN), on Kindle you don’t need one, because Amazon uses for Kindle books their own identification system, called ASIN (but, optionally, you can add an ISBN if you already have one) and for the other editions, you will need an ISBN. If you first publish on Kindle, and you get only an ASIN from Kindle, then you want to publish in iBookStore the same book, you will need an ISBN for it.

  • Dragos,

    Quick question: I was under the impression that if you sold through ibooks you would not be allowed to sell the book elsewhere, but it seems you sell it through 2-3 vendors. Did that issue ever come up in your dealings with your ibooks publications? Perhaps you can clarify if that was something you had to navigate.

    Did anyone else think this as well?

  • After looking around and even going through a majority of this comment chain, it would seem that is is OK to sell it through multiple vendors at the same time just not in the same format, which would make sense.

    Could I get a verification from anyone on this one?

    • You can sell using whatever channels you want, as long as:

      1. you own the rights
      2. you respect the channel’s restrictions (which may or may not include selling in the same format on other channels)

  • I must say that the article is pretty helpful, yet still most of us (or just me) have above all another kind of problem that needs to dealt with … So to name it, it goes by name of lack of inspiration! :)

  • Hi Dragos
    CONGRATULATIONS on your book being 3rd in the Korean ibook store. How did you get it on that store and do you know if Apple accept ibooks in Chinese, simplified Chinese, Mandarin?? I would like to get my children’s book in these languages. Thanks!

  • Thanks for sharing all that valuable information – I do appreciate that very much.
    Maybe my next project I will master that way – I didn’t decide yet, because in the end I still prefer my oldfashioned handwriting style and new media do sometimes frighten me. That’s why I ceded publishing to my publisher (www.grin.com) who did all that for me – and they are dedicated to new media too, so I do not miss any of that new ways to spread my words.

  • Great tips! I enjoyed reading your article and appreciated you sharing your experience with us. This is really helpful to writers who are interested in self publishing. I have written several books, but I’m more interested in getting a rated X book (sex novel) self published. What suggestions do you have for me? I see these types of books on amazon and there seems to be a huge market for them. Thank you for your article and Thanks in advance for your advice.

    • I can only provide some technical advice, based on my own experience. The topic of the novel it’s entirely up to you. Afaik, every publisher (Amazon, iBookStore) has ways to filter the content and display it only to the intended audience, is that’s what concerns you. Good luck with that :)

  • Wow Dragos, this site is exactly what I’ve needed–and ALL of the comments on it as well! And I just bookmarked your 33 ways to stay motivated…

    One question that I have not seen anyone else ask is this: I am starting a business called Growing Smart Kids. I’ve purchased the URL and taken care of other business details. Now, self-publishing my first book, I know I need to buy a block of ISBNs, and I need a Publisher name. (I’m thinking of just buying the block of 100 to be more cost-effective.)

    Most places say come up with your publisher name as your business name, but I already have a business name. But that name does not sound like a publisher, and Growing Smart Kids Press is just long. I’ve been reading up on imprints but it confuses me a bit; if I register for the ISBNs under Growing Smart Kids, can I use a different name on the cover of my book for the publisher? Or should I try to think of a publisher name, different from my business name, that I’ll use on all the books I publish?

    I’d love any feedback you might have about this. Thanks!

    • The ISBN is tied up to the business name you used to buy it. Mine is tied up to Mirabiils Media NZ, which is the company I set up in New Zealand. I don’t see any problem if your company is called “Growing Smart Kids”. On the contrary. :)

  • Hi,
    I just wanted to thank you for this great website. The info was invaluable. I managed to get my EIN following a 9 minute call to the US, which included the waiting time. Fantastic. keep up the good work – your advice is excellent.
    regards
    Alan

  • Thank you for being willing to share. How does finding your niche work?
    By that I mean learning what topics are marketable and I wanted by public.

    Do you start with an article and see if people are interested?

    • Well, I do blog constantly. And whenever I see an article taking off, like the lists of 100 Things, for instance, I think it may be a good chance to create a nice book out of it.

  • Thanks for all this information! It’s a lot to digest. :)
    I do have a book published by create space, and am thinking of kindle now. I just read their long agreement statement. Did I misunderstand it when they said that once I publish with them I cannot publishe with anyone else? Do they mean like with nook or another epublisher? Does this mean a person must choose between nook and kindle?

    • As far as I know, the only exclusivity in Kindle is when you sign up for the Kindle Select Program, which is entirely optional. Other than that, you’re free to publish wherever you want (and have distribution rights, also).

  • Denise Lever says: March 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Wow, you make a complicated process amazingly simple! Thank you. I just have one question. Can I self publish to Kindle if I am a UK citizen and do I follow the same process.
    Thanks again.
    Denise

  • Here’s my question. I’ve already self-published a paperback on Lulu. Can I now publish a kindle version of the same book without retiring the Lulu paperback version? The ‘exclusively on kindle” confused me because I could not tell if it referred to a paperback/print version.

    Can you advise?

  • Hi Everyone
    I have my Children’s book on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, through Creatspace and Lightning Source. Does anyone know how we get it on Amazon.ca?
    Thanks
    Diana

    • It should be listed automatically, if the store is available. Amazon will make those stores available at some point, this is exactly what they did with Amazon.de, Amazons.fr and so on. Check your kdp reports page to see which are the stores in which your book is available.

  • Hi Dragos,
    I am a writer and a freelancee editor and thanks for clarifying all the do and dont’s for the different epublishing readers and platforms out there! It has been driving my self-publishing authors crazy! And me too as I have been trying to help them. I’ll definitely start following your blog! Congrats for having figured it all out and thanks so very much for sharing! Question: Have you published any of your books in traditional print or strictly digital? Thanks again! Melinda

  • Thanks for the information. An Idiot’s Guide is useful when you are just starting out. I noticed that this article is a year old, any new pertinent information someone looking to self publish should know?

    • The process is pretty much the same, but there are a few additions. I’m writing an ebook right now, which includes the (expanded) content of this article, the latest updates and a few additions (what is and how you can use iAuthor, how to write an ebook, how to promote an ebook, and so on). It should be available in a couple of weeks.

  • Mark Christian says: April 13, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Hi Dragos and my 23 YO son has recently completed 37 ebook titles and is currently in the process of preparing to apply for registration to sell his catalogue of titles with the Amazon and Apple stores.

    He resides in Australia and after reading about payment is not certain if Amazon and Apple automatic payment systems transfer funds to a Pay Pal Account or Australian Bank Account. Amazon suggest that cheque payment is sent to Australian self publishers. Can you please advise how you get paid in NZ?

  • Hi Dragos,
    I have a question about royalties, comparing Kindle with e-book (i-bookstore).
    You explained that for books priced below 2.99 on kindle you only get 35% of each sale, while though i-book you get 70% Does this mean no matter how much or how little you price your book, you will get 70% of each sale through i-book? If this is the case why are kindle only offering 35% for books under 2.99. I understand that for new unknown publishers, the lower you price your book the better, as it will help to encourage sales.

    I think what I am trying to ask is, if you can make more money though i-book, why would anyone choose kindle?

    Also, one last quick question:
    According to i-tunes connect, one of the requirements to put your book on the i-bookstore is “An Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.5.8 or later.” I do not have a MAC. I am on a PC, does this mean I cannot put my book on the i-bookstore?

    Thank you so much for all of your help!

    • It’s Kindle choice to give these options to self-published authors. This price thing is a very complex question and there are many ways to look at it. If you really want to know more about, then I suggest getting the ebook based on this post (available on Kindle only, it’s $4.99) and check out the Kindle Select program, it really make your head spin.

      As far as I know, you need a Mac to make use of iTunes Producer. You can buy an emulator (VMWare, for instance) or ask somebody who owns a Mac to do this for you.

      Hope this helps.

  • Hej Dragos!

    Thank for your interesting information!
    I’m at my first experience, so I have a quite naive question! :D
    How do you deal with the copyrights of the images you want to publish?
    I guess it’s not as simple as just taking them from the web or scanning them from other books…

    • Nope, it’s not that simple at all :) There are a lot of website offering royalty free images for very low prices (or even for free). I use Dreamstime.com, they have a huge collection of pictures and reasonably priced too.

      So, to answer your question, you do need to have copyrights on the copyrighted images.

  • Tanya Quinn says: April 27, 2012 at 5:08 am

    Hi I’ve been trying to self-publish my book for a long time now but I keep hitting the same wall in all of these channels – Im not from US and I need some tax code from the US it seems. I have the book uploaded on amazon etc already its all approved but I need to do the royalties before it goes online this is a very frustrating part as its all done I just need the stupid Tax code thing which I cant work out how to do? Can you help?

    • It’s actually a pretty simple step. You just follow their instructions on the IRS page and you get a tax ID. I got mine in under half an hour. There is a bit of a detailed description of the process in my ebook, you can check it out here.

  • Marlene Castricato says: April 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    How can I make my book available on Kindle with a pre-order button?

    Thanks~!

  • Albert Acosta says: May 7, 2012 at 3:59 am

    Hey Dragos, Thank For the heads up with the artical It was very informitive, I do have a question. I’m writing a series of childrens books and there basiclly short stories. do any of these sites have some one to help with editing or illustration??

  • Joe hubbard says: May 12, 2012 at 4:01 am

    Would like to write a children’s series of books my concern is putting my unique idea. Out and it will be stolen I have never seen or heard of this type of series with about 15 character ideas and a possibility of 50 or more books.
    Maybe. As much as a 100. What do I do to rotect the idea

  • DIana Ward says: May 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Hey Dragos
    Is your new ebook ready yet?

    My children’s picture book on ibooks is doing OK, but have had feedback, from my app which advertises it, asking if the ibook can be an app so it is available in the countries where ibooks is not. Any ideas if this is a possibility? I note what you said at the beginning of this when you attempted to put your ibook on as an app, apple wouldn’t let you, just wondered if anythings changed, coz there are quite a few children’s books out there in the app store.

    • Yeap, as a matter of fact, my latest ebook is out, and it’s about, of course, “How To Self-Publish On Amazon, Kindle and iBookStore” (you can see it here – reviews welcome!).

      As for the book / book apps difference. Yes, one of my ebook got into the AppStore as an app. It’s a Korean app, based on the Korean version of one of my ebooks. But it’s a very different thing from an ebook. It’s more on the app side, with reminders and interactivity and a lot of bells and whistles. So, my understanding is that you can have an ebook as book app, but you *need* to have a lot of interactivity built in. Kids book are good for this type of product, I suppose, but from a production cost point of view, you will most likely have to build a book app from scratch. Hope this helps.

  • Great resource, Dragos!

    Another e-publishing option: Booktango. Free DIY publishing tool, distributes to all top e-readers (Kindle, Nook, iPad, Sony eReader, etc.), offers real-time sales tracking and royalty reporting, gives authors 100% of royalties when purchased through their online bookstore. Might be something interesting to try next?

  • Hi,

    I wrote 2 book which I would like to publish. I love all of your advise and will attempt to follow the steps you recommended. More later on how it went. I have two questions today before getting started:

    1. How can I copyright protect my books? Are the already protected when I self publish? Do I need to do any additional step?

    2. Does anyone know a reliable editor proof reading service that does not kill my budget?

    Thanks for any info,

    Chris

    • Yes, your books are protected from the moment you write them. As for editing, proof-reading, I would recommend going on elance.com and post a project there. Look at the feedback for each bidder before you pick one. I used elance in the past (as a service provider) and I was satisfied.

  • Daniel Popescu says: September 6, 2012 at 1:49 am

    Hey, Dragos!

    First of all, I found this article very helpful and I want to thank you for taking the time to write it and lend a hand to those of us who are less experienced.
    Still, there is one question that remains unsolved for me and a little help with it would be greatly appreciated:

    II was thinking about publishing my book with Amazon, but I am based in Europe. Do I need a US bank account if I want to sell it through amazon.com and not just the European Amazon versions? My story is set up in the US, so I hope to make it available to that market as well (I saw something on their website about receiving royalties in US dollars for copies sold through amazon.com that go in your US bank account, but couldn’t find any more details regarding the subject).

    Thank you!

    • If you want to publish in English and in print, you don’t need a Us bank account. You will work with CreateSpace.com (details in the article above, of course). If you want to publish in English and on Kindle, you don’t need need a US bank account, but you will need a Tax Id, in order to report your earnings to Uncle Sam. I hater to blow my own horn, but there are a lot of details on how to set up this process in my ebook (link at the end of the article above).

      Hope it helps.

  • Hello,
    Thanks for a very informative description of self publishing.
    Would you know if it is possible to self publish in languages other than English? My assumption is that if we upload a pdf file, then it should not matter what language.

    Thanks,
    Sophie

  • I’m an Indian. I like to put my “simple Puzzles” book on kindle store. Is there a way to do it for free and get it listed on AMAZON Store, too??

  • I forgot to tell that, I want to let my kindle book in Unicode and in Gujarati language. Is it possible? ?
    For more information about Gujarati language go to – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gujarati_language

    • If it’s in English, there’s no problem whatsoever. I don’t know about Gujarati, though, never faced this problem. My thoughts is that it’s still not possible, but things may have changed with the recent launch of Amazon India. I recommend to do a search on their store.

  • This was a great post. I’ve never published a physical book, but have just finished my second Kindle book. I am going to look into that soon. Thanks!

  • Hi Dragos,
    Just wanted to let you know that i just published my first ebook on Amazon KDP called NBA Trivia. It’s an interactive ebook. Actually I used my dad’s software tool that he originally created for my mum because she wanted to publish her recipes on Amazon. The software is called Ultimate Ebook Creator.

  • Hi. How I have understand, if I’m right, you have published on kindle and on ibookstore the same ebook without problem, right? So, in your opinion, if I want to use the isbn for my ebook, would have I some problem to publish on both stores (using the same isbn, obviously)? Silly question,maybe, but I’m a bit confusing. Thank you.

  • Just bought your book via my iPad last night and could not put it down! I was not clear on a couple of points:

    1. If I use iBooks Author to create an interactive book, can I then simply export it to PDF version and upload onto Amazon? If no, then am I allowed to create the same book in another software (eg Pages) and exprt to PDF and upload to Amazon?

    My aim is to have an interactive ibook and a print book in Amazon which would be the catalist to purchase the Apple version.

    Many thanks again for your book on how to self publish.

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