If you are serious about making money from your writing then it’s time to skip the traditional publisher and start thing about becoming an indie author.
While I personally like the hand holding and attention that I get from my publisher (plus the editing, marketing and cover design services I get) lately I’ve become increasingly frustrated that author’s get such as small royalty compared to the sale of the book. At something like 10% of the retail price, I’m making only just above $2 every time my book is sold whereas the publisher makes close to 50% (or thereabouts).
Not to mention the slow lead time it takes from the time I finish writing it to when it gets onto bookshelves. (I finished my last book late March and it’s due to be available in September this year).
Electronic publishing is becoming easier these days and as more and more readers turn to electronic readers like the Kindle and iPad (both of which I own and love) I’ve been researching more about how to get your book available electronically to reach the largest audience.
So here are the top three places that you need to be in, to get the widest distribution.
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing
You might as well start out with the place that sells the most books and the largest network worldwide – Amazon. Most indie authors say that the biggest portion of their sales come from Amazon so it makes sense to list it here first.
If you price your book between $2.99 and $9.99 you’ll get royalties of 70%, while prices outside that will fall to 35%.
It’s quite easy to get onto the Kindle and the KDP has a good job showing you how to convert your manuscript into Kindle format.
You’ll get monthly cheques (if you are outside of the US), or direct deposit if you have a US bank account. It sucks that at the moment Amazon don’t have direct deposit for International author’s – something hopefully they will look at doing in the future.
Barnes & Noble’s PubIt
The second largest bookstore in the US is Barnes and Noble, and their Nook is gaining popularity since they released their color touchscreen version.
So you definitely want to be listed in the Barnes & Noble directory too. Head over to their PubIt! website, signup and follow the directions for adding your book. You’ll get royalties of 65% for list prices of between $2.99 and $9.99, and 40% for prices outside of this. B&N pay by direct deposit monthly.
The last big distributer you want to list your ebook into is Smashwords. They’ll take your manuscript and then distribute it further to the rest of the big readers like the Sony Readers, Palm, Kobo and of course iBooks for the iPad, iPhone and Touch.
Smashwords pays various royalties, depending on which reader the customer purchased through but generally it will be around 60% of your list price. They pay monthly directly into your PayPal account.
By using these three distributors you’ll catch the biggest chunk of customers and make more money as an independent author/publisher.