You've finished writing your novel, you've edited it, formatted it, sent it to beta readers and now you're finally ready to upload it to a self-publishing platform. But where do you start? You'll find a handful of different self-publishing platforms below.
You may or may not have heard of Ingramspark. Personally, I use Ingramspark, as I feel for what I want (hardback and preorders specifically) it does the job. Ingramspark have a wider distribution, meaning that if you publish with them your books will also appear on online bookstores around the world, such as Waterstones, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository and more.
What are the pros?
Wider distribution - As mentioned above, Ingramspark have a wider distribution. Bookstores like Waterstones and Barnes and Noble don't like to purchase from Amazon as Amazon are a competitors of theirs. Ingramspark however have their own separate company called Gardeners that works as a book distributor for bookstores specifically. Amazon is included within this, so even though you're publishing on Ingramspark, your books will still show on Amazon.
Hardback - I knew that I wasn't going to self-publish my book unless I could have a hardback version of the book. Unlike Amazon KDP and some other companies, Ingramspark allow you to publish hardback editions with sleeves/dust jackets.
Preorder - You know I love a preorder campaign, and I knew I needed one. Ingramspark allow you to set a future on-sale date meaning the book will be set to preorder from the day you allow the book to be sent to retailers, until the on-sale date.
Retail/library discount - As part of the wider distribution, Ingramspark requires that you offer a discount for retail and library stores. The standard is 35%. This means that retail stores are even more likely to order your book.
Better quality - There have been many who have done cross comparisons between Ingramspark and Amazon KDP printing, and they have found that Ingramspark quality is better.
What are the cons?
Difficult to read file-creation guide - unlike Amazon KDP who help format your novel for you and take you through uploading step-by-step, Ingramspark require you do this on your own before uploading with them, so first-time round it can be really difficult to know what to do. I have found that after I've done it once it's easier, but I won't lie and say it was a walk in the park. It was most certainly not.
Pricey - Unlike Amazon KDP, you have to pay Ingramspark per book edition upload and per file revision. This means that the price can stack up, especially for revisions, however I have found that there are many codes that you can use to get this for free. I have been using ingramspark for a year, and haven't paid for a single thing yet. Just do a google search for 'Ingramspark revision code' and you'll be able to find a code that works.
You have to buy your own ISBN's - Ingramspark do not offer free ISBN's, so this means you have to purchase using your countries ISBN company. For UK this is Nielsen and for US it's Bowker. Please know that you need a new ISBN per version of your book. So say that you want to offer hardback, paperback and eBook versions, this means you need three different ISBN's.
Many authors tend to use Amazon KDP for self-publishing as it gets their book online and at the cheapest cost. Personally, I do not recommend it, but it's a personal preference.
What are the pros?
Free ISBN - Amazon allows you to assign a free ISBN to your book, meaning you won't have to pay for your own ISBN's.
Priority on Amazon sites - Amazon like to priorities books published through them, so you'll get first-class support from Amazon and no troubles with your listings.
Easy system - The publishing system is really easy to use and you can preview a 3D version of your book on-line.
eBook preorder - You are allowed to have a preorder for your eBook up to 90 days before the book's release date.
Revise title at no cost - You're able to easily revise your files at no cost.
Advertising with Amazon - Amazon allow you to use in-house marketing, with options to advertise your book listing on their site.
What are the cons?
No paperback preorder - You can only have a preorder for eBooks.
No hardback option - Amazon do not yet have the option to have your book made into a hardback, so your editions are limited to paperback and eBook.
Your book is only available to Amazon - This is one of the biggest cons of using Amazon KDP. When you publish your book on Amazon, it doesn't have a wider distribution network so your book will only be exclusively sold on Amazon. Amazon is one of the largest online retailers, but at the same time you're not providing any growth for your book.
There are so many other self-publishing platforms out there. So far, I've used Ingramspark to publish all editions of my book however, if I were to self-publish again I'd use Ingramspark to publish the paperback and hardback versions of my book, and then use Draft2Digital to publish my eBook. Draft2Digital is an eBook publishing platform that allows you to create custom eBook chapter headers, have your eBook on Amazon and other wider distribution sites, and I've read that their system is easy to use.