|5 x 8" Createspace POD needs title moved to the right.|
by Louis Shalako
The number of publishing platforms continues to proliferate, even since I last researched this story under another pen-name. More on that in a minute.
A while back I signed up for Kobo Writing Life. I have only a couple of ebooks there. I’ve never really promoted it and probably haven’t sold a single book.
It’s an experiment, and those books are also on Amazon. Those books I promote in some small ways. I can compare results of promotion versus non-promotion, also there is the theory of having your books in as many bookstores as possible. This works online as well as in the real world.
I also signed up for OmniLit a while back. I couldn’t get in past the section where you put your Canadian and U.S. tax ID, mostly because my Microsoft Internet Explorer browser simply wouldn’t do it properly. Google Chrome seems to have fixed that, and I’m all signed up. All I have to do is to click on the confirmation email and begin learning the system. That’s under a new publisher name, so what book or books I will actually load up there is still a mystery.
But it might be worthwhile to see what I have in romance or erotica, whatever categories they have over there. I can publish all five authors under the new publisher name—that’s using your head and thinking ahead.
Now, if you’re publishing on Smashwords and Kobo, you can unclick the Kobo distribution channel on your Smashwords dashboard, or you end up with a conflict, a double entry on your one author page.
Smashwords was recently named the number one ebook distributor in the world or something like that.
Pretty much everybody knows all about Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing.
So if you sign up with some platform that has or is acquiring access to a distribution system, making deals with iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Sony, etc, then you have to decide if you even want to put up a book on different platforms. If you can get your book into a lot of channels, putting up a book in a unique new platform is still a good idea, the question is can you keep the book out of streams where it already exists.
The platform might still represent one new, stand-alone store.
If nothing else, you can still get your books in that one new store—it’s a question of putting in the time.
Some of these new platforms have an upfront cost, $99.00 looks about standard for the low-level service.
As far as formatting goes, typing in metadata, handling the upload etc, that’s probably a fair price if you can’t do it yourself, have no idea what that means and aren’t interested in learning it yourself. You might have a daytime job, right? In which case free publishing might not be your top priority, although it is one of mine.
That being said, there are some free services, although the two-week free trial (on any platform) is pointless from my point of view because it’s just a come-on and you’re never going to see any results in that amount of time anyway.
Tablo: $99.00 service.
BookTango: says here that it’s free. Royalty system.
EBookLit: converts from DOCX files, says it’s free.
Vook: ebooks and PODs. Paid service.
PressBooks: various plans available, trial offer.
Draft2Digital: claims no up-front costs, no risk, royalty split based on price categories. See, this one I might check out later.
Kobo Writing Life: no results as of yet on my own experiment, but it was easy enough to use and I do have books published separately from Amazon and Smashwords there.
ReadMill: claims you can interact with readers right in the margins of your book. (Now closed. -- ed.)
WidBook: another site where you can write onsite, totally mobile from anywhere in the world, and interact with readers, build or find an audience, etc.
Rhovit: looks like about ten bucks a month. Distribution platform for books, comics, film, etc.
Libboo: claims to use audience measurement algorithms to help authors ‘tune’ their works.
Authorgraph: allows personalized messages in ebooks, signed copies, etc.
Lelivro: another publishing platform, this is the author landing page.
WattPad: you can write directly on WattPad, click on folks who might follow you back and read your stories. I upload the first two chapters of books as excerpts, and I usually get quite a few reads, which is useful information to an author.
EBookPartnership: has a pricing page.
Nook Press: free to use, books appear in the Nook Store.
iTunes: sell your content. Since they have a Canadian store or a foreign platform, you might be able to avoid the withholding tax. I haven’t checked this one out yet.
Sony Publisher Portal: publish direct through Sony system.
Infiniti: publish in hardcover and ebooks. Ebooks $349.00.
With careful key-word search, you can find dozens of soft and hardcover print on demand book publishers, some of whom are or soon will be offering ebook conversions. The proliferation of platforms in this market is undeniable.
VistaPrint: calendars. POD.
How to sell ebooks on eBay.
There are places to publish your photographs, art prints, CDs, books and films, (for example on Createspace.) Other free POD places include Lulu, and there are dozens of others, most of which are on a paid service basis.
Before I publish anything on any platform, I want to know if they have provision for Canadian or overseas authors to avoid paying the standard U.S. withholding tax of 30 percent. (That's why I'm not on Nook Press.) Can I publish for free? How do I get paid? Do I control my prices? (On Kobo the minimum price is $1.99 and you can’t set it to free.) Are there additional distribution channels and should I take advantage of them, if they are free and if they go places I’m not already represented on? How does everything actually work?
Bearing in mind I have five pen-names, a load of titles and more coming, the time consideration comes into play—how much time is this going to take, and is there any real chance of some rational payment?
It’s only a matter of time before there are more free publishing platforms, ones with good services and good business plans, with multiple distribution channels and access to some new stores that I haven’t even heard of yet.
We’ll keep our ears out and see what we can pick up.