As an author, your job is multifaceted. Writing the book was only half the challenge. Once you have a completed, and edited, manuscript in hand, there is still much to do. For those who choose to self-publish, there is still formatting, distribution, marketing, and sales to worry about. To be successful, you will have to learn how to use every available tool and strategy at your disposal. One approach to give you a ‘leg up’ is publishing with IngramSpark and KDP.
It’s also essential to have a basic understanding of how things work with the publishing, marketing and distribution phases of the project. With tons of information available on the internet, it is smart to connect with someone experienced and hopefully successful who can coach you and share their experiences.
IngramSpark and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) each offer self-published authors the necessary tools to take a manuscript and transform it into a beautifully published book complete with distribution, marketing tools, and analytic tracking. Let’s dive in and learn about both companies.
IngramSpark allows you to publish a paperback, eBook and has hardcover options to include landscape trim sizes. They have a large assortment of template sizes and a state-of-the-art printing facility near Nashville. International customers can receive books quickly with Ingram’s printing facilities around the globe. Books are printed on demand and Authors have access to a global book distribution network. Distribution is available to large and small book chains, independent bookstores, online stores, eBook retailers, libraries, schools, universities, and more.
IngramSpark’s author portal makes it easy to sign up, input the metadata and drag and drop the book files. Revisions are simple, and authors can track current sales, sales history and order their own copies through this revised publisher portal. Once an author uploads the interior and cover, IngramSpark does a quality check and will send a digital proof within a couple of days. A physical proof can be ordered, shipped and received within a 7-10-day period. The shipping cost is a little high for me but well worth it knowing that my authors have a physical book in hand before giving the okay to initiate full distribution.
IngramSpark has created a vast knowledge base with resources from publishing through distribution. Their list of experts is available to help with marketing, author websites, cover design, graphics, and more. Search the blog and join the free online IngramSpark Academy to learn new marketing secrets and publishing tips. IngramSpark walks with you every step of the way. Your success is their success.
Kindle Direct Publishing allows you to self-publish eBooks and paperback for free and has your book on Kindle stores worldwide in 24 to 48 hours. Formally known as CreateSpace, KDP Publishing has streamlined the process to self-publish a physical book on the same portal as their Kindle eBooks. Although KDP does not offer Hardcover books at this time, their template offering is relatively large. The process for uploading the metadata and book components is easy, and they offer a ton of flexibility when it comes to adjusting the pricing on the paperback and eBooks. This is convenient for those who take advantage of book promotions and need to adjust pricing on the fly. When I published on KDP, I was excited to see how quick the physical proof arrived, and the cost involved in printing and shipping.
KDP has an abundance of resources about publishing to include a step-by-step guide called the KDP Jumpstart that will walk you through every step necessary to take your manuscript to published book. They have robust reporting and analytics, along with a reactive customer support process.
One interesting fact to note is that KDP offers Advanced Distribution covering physical and online resellers worldwide. Ingram handles this service for them and other print on demand companies.
The good news is you don’t have to choose just one. Authors can self-publish with both companies. This strategy had been used for a while but is now being tested again with KDP’s streamlined portal. Here is how it works:
Authors design an interior and cover to the specifications for both companies and use the same ISBN and barcode for both. (Technically you don’t need a barcode or ISBN for this process with KDP) Since Ingram handles worldwide distribution for KDP, you can use KDP for sales on Amazon.com only and let Ingram handle all other distribution. Doing this will allow you to earn more profit per book for Amazon.com sales yet still gives you worldwide distribution.
Note: It’s imperative that you DO NOT sign up for advanced distribution during the KDP process. There is a checkbox that needs to remain un-checked for this strategy.
Whether you choose to use one or both platforms, make sure you are careful setting up all functionality, entering the appropriate metadata, and receiving physical proofs before you take the next step. Better yet, have an experienced professional do it for you and spend your time browsing the tutorials and blogs from both companies and begin focusing on book marketing. After all, you wrote the book so people would read it. Now it’s time to get it in their hands.
Rick Lite of Stress Free Book Marketing, stands at the forefront of the ever-changing book industry. He is a seasoned book marketing professional with over 13 years of experience in the industry. Rick’s expertise comes from tirelessly working on new and innovative ways to market his own books and CDs with his company and parent company, Stress Free Kids. Embracing the core values of integrity, innovation, and growth, Rick works closely with authors to create custom, robust book marketing programs. His easy-going manner provides “stress-free” support and comfort to authors going through the book marketing process for the first time. Rick is quick to share his knowledge and “insider tips” for a successful marketing campaign that will lead to increased exposure, awareness and most importantly, sales.