If you are a writer who self-publishes, and you are not a subscriber to my YouTube podcast called The Self-Publishing Corner, this blog post is for you.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” However, as a self-published author, this is more like a mantra for success. At least for me it is. I had to maximize my distribution and find the platforms that gave me the highest royalty percentage.
Every platform is good at one thing and not so good at others. I just could not find one platform to serve all my needs…and result in sales. So, after years of analysis and platform jumping, here’s what I ended up with.
- Ingram Spark – Paperback and hardcover
- PublishDrive – Ebooks
- Findaway Voices (now Spotify) – Audiobooks
On a wooden table there is a black pen and a calculator with the text BENEFITS. Business concept
Before I jump into the platform benefits, consider what the word ‘benefit’ means to you. Is it the outreach it offers, the royalty rate, or the marketing and/or promotion tools? For me, it was all three, but most importantly, the outreach. I wanted to reach as many stores as possible in the US and internationally.
If we look at Ingram Spark, they get you into all bookstores, including retail outlets like Walmart, and you can decide your royalty percentage and whether to accept returns. BUT with marketing and promotion, you are unable to run price promotions and they only offer catalog listings, which are now $150 per book listing.
For me, the only downside to using Ingram Spark is the support and reporting capabilities. They take days to respond to support tickets and I have no idea who is buying my books, or even where they are located. Not having demographics is a huge negative.
Paperback & Hardcover Books
So how do I run promotions on my hardcover and paperback books? Right here, through my website! I can mark down prices, run sales, and add coupon codes.
For those who do not have this option, here are two sites to consider: Rangeme and IngramID.
Rangeme allows you to create a storefront and submit to FREE open bid announcements from stores like Publix and Walmart. Note: it’s a long process filling out the forms, but it’s worth it. And, if you sign up for their Premium service, you have to pay for those ‘not so free’ call for bids…and it’s extremely expensive. So far I’ve been able to get my books into one Walmart site in the US.
IngramID is a great tool for advertising your books via Facebook, Google, and even Dedicated Emails. The great thing about their Facebook ads is that you do NOT need to have a Facebook account.
Next up is eBooks. I’ve tried BookBublish, Amazon, Draft2Digital, and Smashwords, but none compared to PublishDrive. I enjoy their marketing tools, royalty percentages, and the ability to be featured in holiday and themed promotions with sites such as Apple, Kobo, and Overdrive, which is the go-to tool for libraries. You just have to agree to mark your book down to a certain price for the sale.
Their marketing tools also include Amazon ads, which are simpler to use than the actual Amazon platform. My tip if you are going to use Amazon ads is to invest in KDPRocket to search for the best categories and keywords for your book. And don’t forget to maximize the power of AI when you create your ad description.
PublishDrive also allows you to provide book reviewers with free copies by simply entering their name and email address.
I will say there are some glitches with their Sales and Stores tab as far as accuracy is concerned, but their support is very quick to respond to any tickets.
Before I had these promotional gems, I would use The Fussy Librarian, Bargain Booksy, and Free Booksy, to promote sales.
Lastly, Findaway Voices (now Spotify), makes your audiobook available to libraries and online stores. And the great news is that the retail prices for libraries are higher than for a consumer.
The time is no more when you had to go through ACX to publish an audiobook. Now there are many options. You can have them produced and then upload to a platform, or, in the case of Findaway, use their platform to post your project and what you are looking for and audition for the ‘role’. Whoever you select, records and uploads as they finish each chapter, for you to review and/or request edits. You can even pay the balance on the platform.
Findaway also allows you to run price promotions whenever you want on either Chirp, Apple, or Spotify. As a tip, you can promote Chirp discounts on Book Bub. But, I must say, I have never had much success with Book Bub ads.
Lastly, you can also download a spreadsheet of free listen codes for reviewers and giveaways.
I hope you found this post helpful and that you continue to gain much success in your self-publishing journey. Bottom line: Shop Around! Get the most bang for your book! And diversify!
For even more helpful tips on self-publishing, subscribe to my YouTube podcast called The Self-Publishing Corner.
Until next time…
About the Author
Cheryl Denise Bannerman is an award-winning, multi-genre author of ten published works of fiction. Even at the age of seven, she would sit for hours on end reading about faraway lands, intriguing characters, and intoxicating storylines. By a pre-teen, she was writing poetry for publication and short stories for school that moved the reader to laughter, tears, and sometimes anger.
When she is not writing for her next book, Ms. Bannerman is running her 27-year-old virtual B2B Training and Development company based out of her Orlando, Florida, home.