Wednesday, February 20, 2019
WRITER 2 WRITER: GO WIDE - DISTRIBUTING YOUR EBOOK GLOBALLY
I’m taking a short break from my current series, KIDS WRITE, to talk about something every self-published author should know about: GOING WIDE.
Are You Stuck in Kindle?
What is going wide? It means making your book available across the globe on every e-book platform possible. There is a lot more to the digital book world than Kindle and Nook. You may have heard of Kobo, Canada’s leading e-reader, but have you heard of Tolino in Germany, or Perlego in England, or Librerias Gandhi in Mexico? There are dozens of different e-reader platforms throughout the world allowing authors to connect with readers in just about every country of the world.
But My Book is Only in English
It shouldn’t surprise you to know that there are millions of people in the world who speak and read English as a second language and who enjoy reading English-language books. But they will never read your book unless you make it available to them.
How to Connect
Fortunately, it isn’t all that difficult to get your e-book into dozens of digital bookstores. Most e-book publishers distribute to multiple stores. Smashwords, for example, distributes to Apple Books, Overdrive, Scribd, Tolino, and several others. Upload your book to the Smashwords site and select the stores of your choice. But in order to reach all of the global booksellers, you need to upload your book to several publishers at once, because each publisher has their own unique list of stores to whom they distribute. The publishers I use include:
DRAFT 2 DIGITAL
What about the cost?
Each publisher has its own fees, and you’ll need to read their agreements to find out what those fees entail. It’s free to upload your book and sell it, but the publisher will take their cut of your sales. To maximize your earnings, it’s a good idea to publish directly to a handful of popular bookstores, such as KDP (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), and Kobo. Just be sure to NOT select these stores on your other publishing sites.
A Word of Caution
Some of the publishers’ bookstores overlap with each other. For example, Smashwords, Draft2Digital and Publish Drive all distribute to Overdrive. You must select Overdrive on only one of your publishers. I keep a simple excel spreadsheet to keep track of which bookstores I use with which publisher. If you are new to global distribution, you might want to start out with just one or two publishers and go from there. Don’t get overwhelmed.
How to Start
As I just mentioned, if you’re new to global distribution, start small. I suggest publishing with KDP, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo individually, and then upload your book to Smashwords or Draft2Digital.
You will need an epub file of your book, which can be converted from a doc or docx file. While some publishers allow you to upload docx files directly and they will convert them for you, I strongly recommend uploading your own epub file. There are free conversion sites online, or you can hire experienced professionals to do it for you. Conversion doesn’t cost much, around $20 on average. And the benefit to having an expert do it for you is that they can make sure there is nothing wrong with your file and that it looks as good as it should. Fiverr is a good place to find these experts, but if you really want someone reliable, feel free to contact me and I’ll refer to the person I use.
By the way, Kindle uses a mobi file, but KDP allows you to upload a doc or docx file, and their conversions are usually successful.
Each publisher will require you to create a free account. You need to include your personal information and billing information (your bank account and routing numbers) so that when your books sell, the publisher can pay you. Make sure you keep accurate records of your sales for tax purposes.
One Last Piece of Advice
Once your book is available on multiple platforms, don’t forget to provide the links to your fans. Include links to a variety of stores on your website. Some publishers, like Draft2Digital, provide a “universal link” allowing readers to purchase your book from any of their bookstores. I include links to Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Draft 2 Digital, and a few others. You don’t need to include links to every single store. The list would be way too long!
So, there you have it. Sell your ebook on a global scale. Go wide!