To help guide you through the process of uploading your title to IngramSpark, I've created this helpful guide to walk you through the step by step process, which includes setting your release date, preorder date, description, keywords, uploading your files and more!
1. Create your account and pick your formats
The first thing you need to do is go to www.ingramspark.com and create your account. Once you've done that, you'll come to your dashboard/Home Screen where you'll then see the below options.
You'll be able to choose from Print & Ebook, Print Book Online and Ebook Only.
Next, you have to choose whether your files are ready to upload or not. You'll come to the below options.
By selecting 'Yes, all my files are ready', you'll be able to upload your files such as your correctly formatted PDF document, as well as your cover files.
By selecting 'No, I would like to see the available options for creating files' you'll be able to do one of the following:
The first option allows you to use IngramSpark's online tools to build your manuscript, and book cover. This is helpful as IngramSpark format your manuscript for you, however it can mean that any design elements you've placed in your document will need to be added, which can prove difficult.
The second option allows you to hire industry experts. When you select this option, you'll be taken to a page which gives you links to external agencies and freelancers who will be able to format your novel, edit your novel, design your cover and so on.
By selecting 'No, but I will enter my title information and submit files later', IngramSpark will allow you to submit your ISBN, title, description, keywords, publication date etc, and it will then allow you to save this information and return to the homepage, instead of prompting you to submit your files. Choose this option if you feel you want to provide a break between submitting your title information and your files.
For the purpose of this article, I'm going to continue as if I had just selected the first option, which means I can upload my files straight away. Once you select this option, you need to confirm that you have the files ready to upload. As I've chosen the 'Print & Ebook' version, I have to ensure I have my eBook .epub file and cover ready to upload as well. See the below for what this section looks like.
After this section, you need to tell IngramSpark what you intend to do with your titles. For Print & Ebook, and Ebook only formats, it will only give you the option to select 'Print, distribute, and sell book', however if you're choosing just Print Book Only version, it also allows you the option of just printing your book. Only use this option if you're not planning on having your book available to buy, and simply just want a copy of your book for personal use. If, at some point, you want to allow others to buy your book, make sure you select the 'Print, distribute, and sell book' option, as you can't distribute with the other - even if you change your mind.
Here's what that section looks like:
2. Fill in your title information
Once you select continue, you'll then be taken to a screen where you can upload your title information. Here's what that screen looks like:
You need to add the title of your book, the language you've written your novel in, your ISBN which you need to purchase. (For UK, head to Nielsen to purchase your ISBN and for USA head to Bowker) As I've selected the 'Print & Ebook' option, I also have to add my Ebook ISBN as well as list the copyright. If you're an author who has written your own book with your own ideas, characters, etc, then you own the copyright and hold the necessary publishing rights.
Make sure you open the 'Show more fields to improve book optimization' tab by clicking on it to allow you to enter more details such as your book subtitle, if you have one, series name, series number (so if this is the first book in a series/duology/trilogy type the number 1 here) and if this is a special edition add it in there.
The below shows what this section looks like.
After this section, you'll come to the below:
Here you need to add the authors who have wrote the book you are uploading. There needs to be an author added here, so make sure you keep the role as 'author' and add in your first name and last name. You can also add contributors such as other co-authors, cover designers, editors, translators and so on. For professionalism, I would suggest only adding yourself as an author but shouting out your editors, cover designers and anyone else in the acknowledgement section in your novel interior.
Make sure you click 'show more fields to improve book optimization' as you want to fill in as much detail as you can about your book and yourself for SEO and online distributor services. When you click this, you'll get the below pop up.
Add in as much detail here as you can but the main one you want to prioritise is your biography as this will show on sites like Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble and so on.
The next section is to categorize your title. You can see what this looks like below.
First you need to add your imprint. This is what will be displayed as the publisher on retailer sites. Most indie authors choose to have the imprint name as their name, as ultimate you are the publisher, but some choose to set up their own imprint business. Please note that, if you do this, you need to register that business and store taxes in the name you choose.
Then, add your subjects. You can select 'find subjects' to the right to choose from a list. Subjects are the categories that your book will be sorted into. You can chose up to three categories. Here are the subjects I chose for Cloaked Shadows:
After you've chosen your subjects (categories), you need to select the age range of your audience, whether it's young adult, juvenile (middle grade), general adult, or something else. For some options, you may need to specific the specific age range in years.
As always, make sure you click 'show more fields to improve book optimization'. Once you do this, you'll open the below screen:
Regional subjects, are any categories that relate to locations. If your book is about London, for example, you can add this here. Thema subjects should be the same subjects as you've chosen previously. The Thema section is what international retailers will use to categories your book. there are also qualifiers which provide an extra level of categorisation, such as adding an interest age, holidays it might relate to and so on. You can add your table of contents if you want to, as well as add any review quotes. I choose to add review quotes after I've received reviews from my ARC reviewers. Adding between 2-5 is ideal.
We're almost there! Next you have to add in your full description. This is essentially the blurb, or description that will show on online retailer sites like Amazon, Waterstones and Barnes & Noble. See what this section looks like below.
Keywords help your book's visibility, not only on online retailer sites but also on Google and Bing. You must add at least seven keywords. Read this article to help you with your keywords.
Make sure you open the 'show more fields to improve book optimization' tab and include a short description. This is the description used in catalogues and libraries.
3. Fill in your print information
Now you need to fill in your print information. This relates specifically to your book printing, such as pricing, trim size as well as the all important publication date. Here's what the first half of this section looks like.
Your trim size is the size of your book. To determine this, do some research about what the standard trim sizes are for your genre, as well as measure books you have at home. Book sizes usually differ by genre, so please take this into account. Once you've selected your trim size, more options will pop up. See what these look like for a paperback version below.
You can choose the colour of your interior (industry standard, unless a children's or historical book, is black and white interior), the colour of your paper (industry standard is creme), and then other options. After that, you can add your page count as well as the market and see an example of what your print cost would be per book.
After that, you need to input your print pricing. There are three sections you need to enter in pricing. The first section is the retail price which is the price of how much your book will be when selling to the public. This is the price that will show on retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, etc. You want your pricing to be the same across other countries so that you're keeping this fair. Make sure you use a currency converter to find out what your pricing should be.
Your wholesale discount is the discount you want to give bookstores, which allows them to stock your book. It gives you the option to add a 55% discount, however I have the opinion that this is too high and I've found that bookstores are still likely to order your book if the discount is between 30 - 40%. If your discount is too high, it will be very difficult to make a ROI (return on investment) as your royalties will be too low and, with marketing, you may find that you're spending more than you're taking in.
Finally, you have a return section. Almost all bookstores will not order your book if you don't allow them to return your book. This saves them money as, if they order too many of your copies which may not sell, they can return the books and get a refund. There are three options you can choose here - No, Yes - Destory and Yes - Destroy. If you choose Yes - Deliver, you will have to pay for all the books that get sent back, and they will be delivered to your home address. This runs the risk of being quite expensive, so I don't recommend this option. What I do recommend is choosing the Yes - Destroy option. This means that bookstores can return your book to IngramSpark, but that they will destroy it and you will not receive a physical book. For this option, you still have to pay but it works out to be less than the Yes - Deliver option. Once you input this information, the Compensation section will show how much royalty you will earn per singular copy sold of your book.
Once you've filled out this section, you can add print options such as enabling a look inside the book, which is common on Amazon and allows a person to view the first chapter or so of your novel. You can also choose to add large text editions (but please note that this needs to be specifically formatted by you) as well as adding right to left content but it specifies that you should only select this option if your book is meant to be read from right to left.
Finally, after this section it allows you to add your publication date.
Now, add the date you want your book to be officially available to the publication date section. If you want to setup a preorder, you need to make sure you click 'show more fields to improve book optimization which will give you the following popup.
Unfortunately, IngramSpark doesn't give you the option to choose a specific date that you want your preorder to start on but instead, if you add an on-sale date, it will start as soon as you allow your book for distribution. The on-sale date needs to be the same date as your publication date. If you do not want to setup preorder, then please leave the on-sale date blank.
The last section is to just confirm that your ebook can be sold anywhere in the world. Select yes if this is true, or if not select no and chose where your book can be sold.
When you click continue, you'll then have to add the ebook pricing if you've selected the 'print & ebook. The ebook pricing gives you the option to add a library price and an agency price. These are the prices you will set for libraries, and stores like apple to sell your book.
4. Upload your documents
Now you need to upload your documents. This screen looks like the below. Please note that I've used the word 'test' in place of my novel title, and I've also hidden the ISBN as I'm yet to use these.
I'm going to tell you exactly how to upload your files, as IngramSpark only accept PDF/X-1a types of files. I use Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Distiller. If you don't have this, not to worry because as a valued Patreon member, if you send me a message, or an email, I'll be able to export your files into the correct PDF for you.
Things to know before we start:
- Your interior file (novel - paperback and hardback) and all cover files need to be PDF/x-1a files.
- Your Ebook file needs to be an .epub file.
- To create your cover files, you need to download a cover template from IngramSparks cover template generator.
- Your interior files need to have the correct formatting (margins, page size, etc). To find out how to format your novel, click here.
- After you upload your files, you have to pay for the title upload (and you also have to pay for any file revisions you want to make). Then, your files will go to a team at IngramSpark to manually approve.
For physical print editions & covers
- Export your document as a standard PDF.
- Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat.
- Export your PDF as a .ps file.
- Open Adobe Distiller and make sure you've set the default settings to PDF/X-1a.
- Open your .ps in Adobe Distiller by going to file - open - select file.
- Your .ps file and PDF file in your folder will then disappear as Adobe Distiller creates the new PDF/X-1a file.
- Once finished uploading, you'll see a new PDF file (looks the exact same and has the same name as the old file) has been put into your folder. This is now ready for uploading.
(If you've created your cover files in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator, you'll be able to directly export is as a PDF/X-1a and so do not need to do the above.)
For Ebook editions
- Go to Convertio and ensure you've set your export from docx files to epub files.
- Upload your Ebook docx file (word document) to Convertio and click Convert
- Once your files have been converted, download your .epub file.
- This is now ready for uploading. Be sure to open your .epub file as some fonts and illustrations are not supported.
Once you've uploaded your files, press continue and you'll then enter the validation stage. This is where IngramSpark's system will check that you've uploaded your files correctly and that there are no errors. If you've included illustrations in your novel, it may come up with a warning saying that they are low resolutions. This doesn't meant hat you have to change your novel. All you have to do is download the PDF that they will provide, and then check if what you see looks blurry/low resolutions. If it doesn't, you'll be able to exit the PDF and select a box that allows you to continue. This is up to your judgement, however know that I received the same box for my books, and checked the box to say continue, and my illustrations have printed out fine.
Finally, once you press continue you'll get to a screen where you can pay for your uploads. Once the payment has gone through, it will say that your files have been submitted to IngramSpark's internal team to review. It will pop-up saying that your Ebook will be sent to retailers straight away, which you can't not allow, however if you've set a future on-sale and publication date, your book won't show until then, or until you allow other files for preorder.
A few days later, you'll receive an email saying that the IngramSpark team have reviewed your files and that you need to approve these. In rare cases, the team may not approve your files if they feel there is something wrong with the formatting and will give you the option to amend your files free of charge. You can click the link provided in the email, or you can access files that need your approval by going to the titles section on the left-hand side and selecting 'pending approval'.
You'll see the book that needs your approval listed in here. Click on the book and then you'll be able to download an e-proof of what your book will be printed like. Please note that the first page IngramSpark prints, will always be printed on the right-hand side of the page, so format your novel accordingly.
You'll then see options which allow you to disapprove or approve your files. If you want to upload more files, you can select the disapproval option that allows this. If you want to approve your files, but not have your book sent to distributors, or not have it available for preorder yet, select the approval option that specifies for personal use only. DO NOT select the one that allows for distribution if you don't want your book to be out in the world just yet. You'll be able to allow distribution at a later date when you're ready. If you do want your book to start its preorder, or show as available on retailer sites, select the approval option that allows for distribution.