I recently designed a memoir for Bonnie, a first-time author who originally printed only enough copies of her book for her family and friends. Now, she wants to publish it and make it available to the public.
If you are a first-time author who is ready to publish your book, you have many publishing options, depending on your goals. “I want to publish my book” might mean anything from, “I want to print a few books just for family and friends,” to “I want to have my book available for sale at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.” So, it’s important for me to understand your goals.
Here’s what you need to know.
There are two online publishing companies I recommend: KDP and IngramSpark. They are the most popular print-on-demand (POD) publishers. (POD is an efficient printing method that creates only as many books as needed without having to print large quantities of inventory to store in a warehouse.) Many authors use both KDP and Ingram. Here’s why:
Using KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing, owned by Amazon) for paperback and ebook distribution, ensures that your book will always be on Amazon. You can upload files to KDP at no charge.
Note: If you opt to use KDP’s ISBN, KDP would be the publisher of record, and you will only be able to sell your book on Amazon. The free ISBN from KDP can only be used on KDP for distribution to Amazon and its distributors. It cannot be used with another publisher or self-publishing service. The benefit of buying an ISBN is that the book can be sold anywhere. (To buy an ISBN, visit myidentifiers.com).
If an author uses IngramSpark for a hardcover, paperback, or ebook, the book will be in Ingram’s catalog, which has global distribution, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. There is no charge for using Ingram Spark’s ISBN, but there may to limits on distribution.
Here are some other important points to consider:
1) Bonnie’s book has illustrations and thus would be better as a fixed-layout ePub. I have a good resource for converting the InDesign file, which is the program I use, to a fixed-layout ePub file. I’ll show him the file and get a price to convert.
2) To have the book in the Library of Congress, an author must apply for an LCCN before publishing, so it can be added to the copyright page. (This is not the same as an ISBN or a copyright.)
3) I sent Bonnie the “cheat sheet” I send to all my authors. This is a compiled list of information in one document—title, subtitle, ISBN, prices, description, genre, and keywords.
4) To determine the price of a print book and ebook, both KDP and IngramSpark have price calculators. Bonnie’s book is ninety-two pages, 5.5×8.5-inches, full color.
There’s a lot of information to digest.
The publishing process can be a bit overwhelming, especially for an author’s first book. I’m available to help authors set up an account and their title at either IngramSpark or KDP (These are two separate processes). Please look at the website links on Amazon and KDP, and feel free to ask me questions. Let me know how you want to proceed.
Other publishing options
I had mentioned two options and publishing paths to Bonnie. There are other companies that will print and/or distribute books. It’s important for an author to research potential companies, read their contracts, and check reviews.
Note: This blog post does not discuss seeking a traditional publisher. That’s a totally different process with totally different rules.
What else you should know
What no one tells you when you say you’re writing a book is that this is only Act I of a three-act play. Act II comprises all the steps involved in taking your book from manuscript form to a tangible, published book. Act III is telling the world that your book exists, what it’s about, why it’s worth reading, and how to buy it. That’s called marketing.